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North Okanagan students earn national recognition

Cheyenne Brown earns $100,000 Loran Award

When Cheyenne Brown heads to Queen’s University this fall, she will be busy adjusting to life at a large post-secondary institution, making friends and being far away from home.

What she won’t have to worry about is how she is going to pay for her education.

Brown, 17, has earned a Loran Award, worth $100,000 over four years of undergraduate study.

Currently in Grade 12 at Kalamalka secondary school, Brown’s application for the award required four short essays, a reference letter, her transcript, sponsorship by her school and many questions about her involvement in both the community and at school.

“I believe that the Loran Foundation tries to find well-rounded individuals who aren’t afraid to take risks and be involved in their communities,” said Brown, who attended Coldstream elementary school. “This is a scholarship that is less about grades and more about potential. I think Loran picked me because even after I leave high school and move on to university I want to stay involved in the community and try to get the most out of every experience.

The Loran Scholars Foundation is a national charity that partners with 25 universities to invest in young Canadians who demonstrate character, service and leadership potential.

“I really admire the Loran Foundation for seeking to help young people follow their dreams, and investing in their futures.”

When she is not in school, Brown coaches three youth marksmanship teams and is a troop warrant officer with the cadets. She served as section commander at the cadet training centre, sells poppies for the Royal Canadian Legion, helps organize school events and volunteers as a visual arts peer tutor. She also found time to work at Intermezzo restaurant for three years and study ballet for close to 10 years.

“I love to shoot and I love helping and coaching younger kids who are new to the sport,” she said. “I enjoy being one of the people who gets to facilitate young people in finding their passion.

“Cadets gives me plenty of opportunity to volunteer as well; I do community service at the IPE and participate in the Relay for Life. I am also involved in leadership at school. We do a lot in the community as well, like volunteer gift wrapping at the People Place around Christmas and working with Pacific Sport during Unplug and Play. I am also on the Safe Schools team.”

Brown attended the Loran Scholars Foundation’s national selections in Toronto in February along with two other local finalists, Fulton secondary student David Kane and Pleasant Valley secondary student Emma Smith.

More than 4,400 students across Canada applied for the award, with three of the 84 finalists from the North Okanagan.

“Cheyenne, David and Emma were selected as finalists based on evidence of character, commitment to service in the community and leadership potential,” said Julia Lo, senior manager of marketing and communications for the foundation.

Kane organizes an annual 12-hour food drive and co-founded the gender and sexuality alliance (GSA) at his school. He also helped to manage the school play and has been contributing to the year book for four years. As well, he plays rugby and enjoys acting and last summer, he worked as a beekeeper and a mascot.

Smith initiated and organized a weekly tutoring program, now in its third year. She is a member of a competitive dance team and last year taught hip hop dance to 100 elementary school students. She coaches synchronized swimming and volunteers with a therapeutic riding association. As well, she holds a part-time job as a lifeguard and swim instructor.

As finalists, Kane and Smith each receive a $3,000 award.

The Loran Award includes a $10,000 annual stipend, tuition waivers from one of 25 universities, mentorship, summer internship funding, a week-long orientation expedition in Algonquin Park and annual retreats and forums.

Brown counts psychology and English literature as her favourite subjects in school and said she has been blessed to have had many mentors over the years.

“All the teachers at Kal have been amazing in supporting me through school. My leadership and socials teacher, Mr. (Ian) Busfield — who was also my reference for the Loran application — has been an especially dedicated mentor to me, as well as my principal, Mr. (Mike) Grace, who agreed to sponsor me for Loran.

“On top of that I have a wonderful group of cadet officers who helped me get here, as well as my manager at Intermezzo, Ellie, who was always very supportive. My family and friends have been very important to me, they always believed in me and they kept me grounded over the years. I wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for this group of amazing people.”

At Queen’s, Brown will take a bachelor of arts and science honours program. While her hope is to major in psychology and neurology, she has not finalized her study plans yet.

“The national selections in Toronto were an amazing experience. I got to meet people from all over Canada, and stay in a hotel room with two other girls from opposite ends of the country! I couldn’t believe how diverse the group was. It was a good opportunity to have a lot of insightful conversations and to meet incredible people.

“Once the interviews were over a group of us didn’t want to stop talking so we ended up together for hours talking about the future, and our lives. It was a truly inspiring experience and I was honoured to be able to attend the interviews.”