SOLE Alternative student Olivia Stewart awarded Schulich Leader Scholarship

Olivia Stewart, who attends SOLE Alternative School which is based out of Monarch Park Collegiate, has been awarded an $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship. Photo: Submitted.

East Toronto student Olivia Stewart has been selected to receive an $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study STEM in the college of arts and science at the University of Saskatchewan.

A graduate of SOLE (School of Life Experience) Alternative School which is based out of Monarch Park Collegiate, Stewart will be entering the Interactive Systems Design Program this fall.

The Schulich Leadership Scholarship recognizes the importance of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) on future generations. It was established by businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich in 2012 to encourage the next generation “of entrepreneurial-minded technology innovators.”

Stewart was nominated by Karin Vollmer, the guidance counsellor for SOLE Alternative, for her outstanding academic achievements.

This is the first student nominated by SOLE Alternative to be awarded a Schulich Leader Scholarship.

“It was absolutely surreal. I was shocked,” said Stewart when she found out she would be the recipient of a Schulich Leader Scholarship.

“I am tremendously honoured to be selected as the U of S science recipient. When I told my parents and friends, they were over the moon. This year was very much a rebuilding year for me, so starting next year without financial concerns is a great opportunity,” she said in a press release.

“It gives me the freedom to focus on what I want to study and accomplish in order to realize my goals. While I am a city girl, I have always been interested in urban farming and specifically aquaponics, so to be at a well-respected researched university in the heart of Canada’s agricultural industry will allow me to further explore these interests. I am extremely fortunate to have had the support of Karin (Vollmer) and the SOLE community to give my classmates and I the best chance of success.”

Given the unparalleled disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a much greater need for students to get financial support in order to pursue their university education. This year, The Schulich Foundation decided to award an additional 50 scholarships, for a total of 100.

“Schulich Leader Scholarships are the premiere STEM scholarship program in Canada and the world. With 100 outstanding students selected in Canada this year, it is all but guaranteed that this group will represent the best and brightest Canada has to offer. These future leaders will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale. With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars, and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of technology innovators,” said Seymour Schulich in the press release.

Vollmer said the scholarship is an enormous honour for Stewart and SOLE Alternative.

”Olivia receiving this award really benefits our school by providing an amazing role model for students to emulate. She has not only been an outstanding academic student, but has always been willing to help her peers by tutoring in math and English,” said Vollmer in the press release.

“Olivia earned this prestigious scholarship by working hard, having clear goals, exemplifying a positive attitude, and being an integral part of our school community. This award also shines a spotlight on our alternative school. The community often is not aware of the exciting opportunities an alternative school can provide or what experiences a smaller unique academic program can offer students.”

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