Tehya O.


2022 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Calgary
Program: International Relations

When I lost my father at the age of 10, the last thing I considered was how this would affect my financial well-being. My brother, who was my role-model, was forced to drop out of post-secondary education in his second year because we could not afford tuition. That was when I realised that I was going to have to figure out how to afford University tuition by myself. I dreamed of going to McGill University and have come to realise that I cannot afford to move that far away from the supports I created in my life. I will be relying on scholarships and other financial aid to afford my schooling.

My mom suffered greatly after the loss of my dad. She turned to alcohol and eventually drugs to cope. By the time she managed to get clean, she had already spent the life insurance she received, and also the money I had earned from my part-time jobs since the age of 13, which I was saving for university. As my mom was unable to work and therefore relied on life insurance money to survive, we were not able to save any money for tuition and often rely on community supports for basic needs such as groceries. Since my mom is unable to, I am the one coordinating with the school and outside support agencies to maintain the help our family needs.

I have maintained a 92% grade average while working 25 hours a week since I was 13 years old. I have financially supported my family with car repair payments, groceries, and household bills. Throughout all of this my want to learn, grow and become someone who can create change in the world has increased every year. I put a lot of effort into everything I do. I work hard in school, stay late to get extra help, and take extra classes in order to have my options open.

I will be attending the University of Calgary in Sept 2022 for International Relations. I chose this program because I have always been an advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves. The small town I grew up in often has one way of looking at the world that is different from the way I see it. This means that I usually speak up in class to support a view that is not always represented (for example, I often speak up for the LGBTQIA, immigrant or disabled communities). If I am not required to work full time in University, I hope to join clubs and groups that advocate for others.

If I am successful in this scholarship, I plan to use the money towards tuition. This will greatly help me be able to concentrate on my schoolwork at University of Calgary instead of having to work a full-time job or worry about having to drop out due to finances like my brother.

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