École McTavish High School student Tanisha Kadia is one of 30 students across Canada to be named a Loran Scholar. The $100,000 award provides students with mentorships, internships, and opportunities for volunteering and networking. It is the largest award for undergraduates in the country.
When Kadia was told she had been chosen from more than 6,000 applicants, outwardly she had no expression, her mother told her. But inside, Kadia felt a “myriad of emotions” of gratitude, fortuitous and excitement.
“I’ve never felt so much gratitude in my life and when that was happening, I was just thinking about telling my school principal and telling my teachers that have supported me so much, and my parents,” she said. “I just really wanted to thank them. Thank them that their efforts and their love and support towards me really brought me to this place.”
Kadia said the application process was long and involved essays, questionnaires and interviews. She enjoyed the process because it gave her an opportunity to self-reflect.
“I was able to find out a lot of things about myself and just really reflect on not just what I do, but why I do it and what I really want out of those activities and what I really hope to get back,” she said. “I just loved every minute of it because it was just a phenomenal opportunity to learn.”
Kadia is involved in many community and school activities, including band, theatre and the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth (MACOY). She is also a writer for YMM Parent magazine, and hosted a health conference and poetry contest.
“I realized how privileged I was and lucky I was to get an education and a family like I do,” she said. “I wanted to take that and kind of give that privilege that I have to make other people’s lives better and try to give other people the same education and the same privileges that I was given.”
Kadia has been accepted into some neuroscience programs across Canada, including the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and University of Toronto. She is also considering studying politics and literature. In the future, she’s interested in working in public health.
In a statement, École McTavish principal Scott Barr said Kadia is a well-rounded student. He also said she is excited to see others succeed as much as she is for herself.
“Whether acting as a lead in one of our productions, being in honour band, earning excellent marks, developing environmental programming at the school, and so much more, Tanisha is a change agent,” he said. “Tanisha is a fantastic example of what being passionate in many areas can lead to. She has a bright future ahead of her and we look forward to watching her achieve even more.”
Superintendent Jennifer Turner of Fort McMurray Public School Division said in a statement there is no limit to what Kadia can accomplish.
Kadia doesn’t know what the next school year will look like because of COVID-19, but said she’s excited for the new academic experience.
“I’m very excited to go, hopefully, to go to a new place and meet all these new people and start the next step, the next journey,” she said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article said there were 29 scholars. This was incorrect and the article has been updated to reflect this. The Today apologizes for the error.