Lambrick Park secondary students and scholarship winners pose with Lambrick’s vice-principal Joan Thain

A banner year for Lambrick secondary scholars

Post-secondary science, athletic scholarships abound at Saanich school

Lambrick Park’s Austin Sawyer couldn’t help but let loose when recounting the slow reaction to clean up English Bay’s recent oil spill.

As a five-time qualifier for the Canada Wide Science Fair and winner of the 2014 Schulich Leadership Scholarship, Sawyer is at an advanced level of research for a high schooler. And he has a few valid thoughts of his own.

“It’s controversial what they’re using in English Bay. They’ve done a good job trapping the spill but the pick up rates are not impressive,” he said.

Last year, the budding scientist/engineer partnered with Vicki Kleu of St. Michaels University School on her invention of an oil-collecting (Oil RiDD’rs) material that is made with a low-carbon footprint and absorbs up 50 times its weight in oil during a toxic spill. The invention won the prestigious Manning Innovation Award at the Canada Wide Science Fair.

Sawyer wrote all about the oil spill material’s potential applications in an essay that helped him win a Schulich Leader engineering scholarship, one of 25 worth $80,000. Sawyer had been ready to attend university away from home, but he’s since decided to stay home and attend University of Victoria in September, and put his extra funding to a masters degree.

“It’s that kind of thinking, seeing beyond his undergraduate degree, is particular to what helped Sawyer win the Schulich,” Lambrick principal Kevin Luchies said. “You don’t see many 17 year olds thinking that way.”

Sawyer is one of about 50 Lambrick Park students graduating with scholarships this year, Luchies said.

“I added it up and we’ve got more than $1M in scholarships won. It’s a banner year for Lambrick,” he said.

The school’s baseball academy regularly turns out athletic and academic scholarship winners and this year is no different.

Courtney Somers is humbled about the $105,800 scholarship she qualified for at Concordia University’s (Portland, Ore.) honours program, based on her athletic and academic success. She’ll link up with a pair of former 2012 Lambrick Park grads, Chelsea Strandlund and McKenzie Smith, who are ready to become student-athletes after two seasons of competitive club play.

“So many of us worked so hard. This is what I needed to get into the school but so many other students (and athletes) worked just as hard, they’re all deserving,” Somers said.

While grades are crucial, and the combined grade point averages of the top dozen or so Lambrick students this year is close to perfect, it’s the extra efforts that win the big prizes.

Lambrick’s Caitlin Doherty won Simon Fraser University’s Gordon M. Shrum scholarship ($24,000) for her community involvement. Doherty is a representative for the Red Cross’s Beyond the Hurt anti-bullying program, and is training three students to take it over. She also co-created the Lambrick Gay Straight Alliance, which organized Monday’s (April 27) first ever Love is Love conference, and was a leader with the 2014 Out in the Cold event which raised awareness about homelessness in Victoria.

Other significant winners include Sydney Sparanese, who received the $44,000 Chancellor’s Club Scholarship to the University of Calgary; Courtney Sjerven for a Wolf Pact scholarship to Northern State University (South Dakota); Leah Johnson earned an athletic scholarship of towards tuition and books for two years at Galveston College in Texas; and Emma Bowman won a full ride for two years at Gulf Coast State College in Florida.

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