A Churchbridge Grade 10 student is the recipient of a major CIBC Youthvision Scholarship, valued at up to $38,000.
“It is really cool,” said Sara Lavoie, who was awarded the 15th anniversary of the scholarship, which is presented in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters and the YMCA.
Lavoie said the scholarship is something which can help her achieve her post secondary goals.
“It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said the 16-year-old. “I’ve always wanted to go to college, and now I can go to college knowing nothing can stop you.”
Lavoie, who has been involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters for the past four years, said she learned of the scholarship through the local organization and decided to apply, adding “it was a lot of paperwork,” and included her school transcripts. She added she thought she had actually applied late.
And when some two months went by from the time she applied she noted, “I thought I didn’t get it at all.”
Lavoie said to hold onto the scholarship she has to maintain good grades through her final two years of high school, something she plans to do as she has a definite education goal in mind.
“I want to become a chef,” she said, adding she has already researched George Brown College in Toronto for a two-year course which the scholarship will cover.
And then Lavoie wants to attend Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa where she can specialize in French cuisine which are her family roots.
Ultimately Lavoie said she wants to open a restaurant in Quebec.
Lavoie remains a Little Sister, and added this fall will become a mentor through the program. She said before she was matched with a Big, she herself had had a mentor and it was such a good experience she wants to help others in the same way.
As for her Big Sister Grace, Lavoie said “it’s a really good match.” She added a strength of the program is to pair someone with similar interests.
CIBC Youthvision helps high-potential young Canadians who might not otherwise have the financial ability to pursue a college or university education. This unique program provides scholarships to students in Grade 10, which is when many at-risk kids lose focus at school due to peer pressure, lack of role models and financial pressures. The scholarships provide tuition support, six years of paid summer internships and dedicated mentoring through the YMCA or Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Lavoie was one of 33 scholarship recipients this year, explaining how it feels to pursue an education without worrying about her finances.
“CIBC Youthvision is, and has always been, about investing in Canada’s young people so they can reach their full potential and build a better future for themselves and their families,” said Tom Weber, CIBC Region Head in Central Canada in a prepared release. “On behalf of CIBC, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the YMCA, I extend my congratulations to these exceptional scholarship recipients and wish them every success on achieving their academic, personal and life goals.”