Five Niagara students awarded the Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarship

·3 min read

The Horatio Alger Association of Canada has announced the recipients of their post-secondary scholarships — five Niagara students were among those selected.

The Horatio Alger Association of Canada is a charitable organization that awards need-based scholarships annually to deserving students across Canada who have financial needs and persevered through adversity.

Two of the students selected are from Welland: Cassidy West and Jessica Gingras.

West, who currently attends Notre Dame College School, hopes to study integrated science at McMaster University this fall.

“This was a long process,” said West. “ I kind of lost faith. I thought I wasn’t selected.”

“When I found out, I was relieved,” she said. “I applied for four or five scholarships, and this was the one that I wanted.”

West hopes to use the fund to cover the cost of tuition, books, residence and a laptop.

Gingras, who attends Welland Centennial Secondary School, was unavailable for an interview.

Two of the students selected are from Niagara Falls, Émilie Blondin, who currently attends A.N. Myer Secondary School, and Josephine Cirillo, who attends Saint Paul Catholic High School.

Blondin, who is still deciding what university she’ll attend in the fall, hopes to use the money to overcome financial barriers often associated with post-secondary studies.

“This award will provide me the opportunity to focus on my school and less on the cost of attending school,” said Blondin. “I am grateful to the Horatio Alger Association for giving me this opportunity.”

While Blondin has yet to determine what school she’ll be attending, she has settled on becoming a professor of archeology.

Josephine Cirillo, who attends Saint Paul Catholic High School and Malak Matus, who attends Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School in St Catharines, were unavailable for comment.

The charitable organization awarded 160 Scholarships. All of the recipients will receive $5,000 each.

They also issued 10 scholarships valued at $10,000 to students who demonstrate a desire and ability to be entrepreneurial in a chosen field.

Prem Watsa, president of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada and a Member of the organization since 2012, congratulated this year’s winners in a press release.

“In a year unlike any other, it is a privilege to award scholarships to 170 remarkable students who have faced adversity and strived to overcome it,” said Watsa. “Horatio Alger Scholars are selected based on their commitment to furthering their education and giving back to their communities. They are beacons of hope for us all in these trying times and I wish to congratulate them all on behalf of the Members of the Horatio Alger Association.”

In addition to the 170 scholarships, the Association will offer 25 Vocational & Technical Education scholarships, 45 Fairfax Financial Holdings Entrance Awards, and five Indigenous Achievement scholarships later this year.

Since 2012, $8 million in scholarships have been awarded to 1,338 deserving young Canadians. Annually, the Association awards $1.68 million in need-based scholarships to 245 students.

Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: svanderklis@metroland.com

Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review