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For the second consecutive year, a Georgian Bay Secondary School (GBSS) student has won a prestigious university scholarship.

Last year, then- Grade 12 student Shauntel Highfield won the prestigious, Chernoff Family Award available to students applying to Queen’s University. This year, Grade 13-student Sarah Bowie, won the exact same award.

While all scholarship wins are major accomplishments, this one is even more special. The reason for that is that it is worth a total of $60,000, which would cover a large part of the schooling, a cost which can often bare a huge burden on students and their families.

This award is given out to only 8 students from anywhere in Canada (not including Quebec, which has a separate award). The criterion for the award starts with needing a minimum high school average of 90 percent. The other guidelines are that applicants must possess superior academic ability, demonstrate creative and original thinking, and have proven leadership qualities. They also must have a financial need, and must hail from rural or remote areas of the country.

Shauntel Highfield started at Queens University this school year, and has been enjoying her time. She is studying engineering, and is planning on choosing computer engineering as her major next year. She heard about the scholarship through going to an open house at the school.

The admission brochure had a list of the different awards they offer as well as the requirements needed to achieve the scholarship,” Highfield explained. “The application process was slightly stressful. The deadline for application for this award was [in December 2012] and choosing what to do, for my future in general, was a big decision.”

She explained that it was difficult to know how to answer their questions to best represent her. She must have done a good job though, as just a couple months later she found out she had won, which she described as a “surreal experience.”

Flash forward to this year, and another Georgian Bay student has received this scholarship. Sarah Bowie, who is in the same grade as Highfield but chose to take a fifth year, went through slightly different processes that lead to the same result.

She applied for the award by filling out a general major admission awards application which made her eligible for up to seven different scholarships. This application asked her to write two essays, one about community involvement, and the other on the subject of leadership.

She also had to complete a creative component, which she found the most difficult due to its limitations.

Although the scholarship certainly confirmed the decision, Bowie already wanted to attend the school.

Her main interest lies in the field of biological, but many of the details of what the future will look like remain unclear.

To me the future is still uncertain,” she commented. “There are so many options that I’m sure [I’m not yet] aware of and won't know about until I get to university. But I do want to do something to make a difference to people, and hopefully incorporate my love of the outdoors and the natural world at the same time!”

Both students will receive the scholarship in increments of $15,000 throughout four years of University, provided they are able to maintain a 3.5 grade-point average with a full course load.

If they are able to achieve this, the scholarship will likely pay for all their tuition expenses, and help them to graduate debt free.