For the second year in a row, a Reynolds secondary student is graduating directly into Canada’s House of Commons.
And for the third time in two years, a Reynolds student has secured one of 50 prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarships, an $80,000 value towards a degree in science.
The truth is two Reynolds Grade 12 students, Solomon Schaefer and Antonia Kowalewski, have been offered a place in the House of Commons page program. Schaefer is jumping on the opportunity and is registered in political science at the University of Ottawa. Kowalewski, meanwhile, made it through the rigorous interview and application process, including a French language evaluation (candidates must be bilingual) but later chose to accept the Schulich Scholarship through Simon Fraser University, where she’ll study biophysics.
“These scholarships are very competitive and for our high school to have back-to-back recipients is quite something,” said Patricia Daniells, a Reynolds teacher who offers career help to students.
Before interviewing for the House of Commons Page Program, Schaefer was able to check-in with Sylvan Lutz, a 2017 Reynolds grad who is currently working as a page while studying at University of Ottawa. Schaefer will put in a minimum of 15 hours a week at the House of Commons, one morning and one evening shift. It starts with a week-long training session in August.
“To some people the House of Commons might seem boring but to a poli-sci nerd like me, to be there assisting successful politicians and to be in the same room as the Prime Minister is like Christmas for me,” Schaefer said.
On top of a nearly flawless report card – Schaefer is one half of this year’s Reynolds valedictorian team with Camryn Nadeau – the teen spent a month over the winter holiday this year as a counselor to 11-year-olds at a CISV (a youth-oriented movement for global peace formerly known as Children’s International Summer Villages) camp in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
It’s that type of extra-curricular leadership that helped him get into the Page Program.
“The camp is mostly in English, so you learn how to communicate at different levels, especially with 11-year-olds who are still learning English,” said Schaefer, who is adding Spanish to his quiver of languages.
Same goes for Kowalewski, a science-oriented academic who’s been active in a number of initiatives throughout her time as a high schooler. But now the focus will turn on schooling, as Kowalewski enters a demanding program.
“It’s been a lot of work the last four years so it’s nice to know my dedication to school and a lot of extra-curricular activities has paid off,” Kowalewski said.
She follows in the footsteps of 2016 Reynolds grad Rebecca Hansen who also secured a Schulich for science.
“I always loved the sciences but I figured I would know which direction I wanted to focus on by now,” Kowalewski said. “I ended up liking all off biology, chemistry and physics so I’m going into biophysics, which encompasses them all.