The School District of Mystery Lake has implemented a previously approved but long forgotten or overlooked scholarship program for students at each of the district's schools.
The board-sponsored scholarships were approved by trustees perhaps five or so years ago, but were never awarded to students because the program was either long forgotten or overlooked until recently.
The announcement was made at an April 10 regular meeting of the board of trustees, stating that monetary awards would be given to one student at each elementary school achieving the highest overall average, as well as a one student from each grade at R.D. Parker Collegiate.
One Grade 8 student from each of the six elementary schools will be awarded $100 for the highest grade average. The Grade 9 nine student achieving the highest average will receive $300, Grades 10 and 11 students will receive $600, and two Grade 12 students will receive $1,400.
Two Grade 12 awards are given out in order to accommodate both academic and vocational students, with one of each being awarded.
School board trustee Janet Brady, who is also a member of the scholarship committee, says this is something that has been in the works for a while now but just never got off the ground.
"No one really knows why this didn't get going," said Brady, "maybe it was because we changed superintendants or maybe it was just forgotten. For whatever reason though these board-awarded scholarships were just overlooked until now."
Three additional awards of $100 are being given out to students of Youth Build, Echoes, and off-campus students, ensuring that all youth getting an education have a chance for the awards, regardless of where they go to school.
"The principals of all of the schools will gather up the marks at the end of the year and then submit the best ones to the board to then give out the awards," said Brady.
Though the program has just been implemented, there won't be any lag time in implementing it, and students will be given scholarship awards for the 2011-2012 school year.
"As early as June when the Grade 8 students have their graduations, we'll have a board representative at the events to give out the award to whoever wins," said Brady.
Brady says that this is not only a great program to have implemented, but the timing was also quite crucial.
" There's been a lot of negativity with all of the stuff that's been going on lately," said Brady, "it's time to show a more positive side of things, this is long overdue."
The money that the board is awarding students has been allocated in previous years but was just not implemented.
"We had about $5,000 to work with, and that's money that we've always had," said Brady, "it was just never allocated as it is now. It wasn't being spent on anything else."
Companies such as Vale and MTS also award scholarships to students, but the board's scholarship program is based strictly on academics, and the money doesn't come with any stipulation of where it must be spent.
"We don't hand over a cheque and say that it's mandatory that the students use it for educational purposes," said Brady, "however, the hope is there, that because these students are high level achievers, a lot of the time they're going to put it towards something that will further their education. For example a vocational students is going to need tools if he or she is going to apprentice somewhere, so the money would be helpful there. Even for the younger students in grade eight, it's a great motivational tool, because they might go buy a new iPod with their money and their friends will see that they got that through working hard in school."
The new scholarship program is one that Brady hopes will be a long standing motivator for students and will exist into the foreseeable future.