Perseverance pays off for Galt student
Last week, the Horatio Alger Association of Canada announced the recipients of this year’s Horatio Alger Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney Quebec Scholarships. Apt that the announcement should be made during School Perseverance month: the scholarships are awarded to students
who have “demonstrated integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity”. The recipients must also demonstrate a financial need and have a good academic record of a sixtyfive average or higher, a plan to continue their education after high school and a desire to contribute in a meaningful way to society.
Sherbrooke’s Lydia Toussaint, an Alexander Galt Regional High School student in level five, found out a few weeks ago that she had been chosen to receive a prestigious Horatio Alger Scholarship, worth an impressive $5000. “The Association sent me an email saying that I had won a scholarship to continue going to school. I was really, really happy. It was a pretty long process to apply for the scholarship. I had to provide a lot of information and I had to write a couple of essays. The first essay was about how I had shown perseverance in the past; the second essay was about difficulties I had faced in the past and how I overcame those difficulties,” explained Lydia in an interview with the Stanstead Journal. “It was really hard to write those essays.”
Obstacles to student success can come in all different shapes and sizes, and Lydia spoke about some of her challenges. “The schoolwork has never been hard for me, but we’re ten kids in the family and that’s not always easy. Just to find a quiet spot in the house to study can be hard; sometimes it seemed like it would be impossible to get through it all,” said Lydia. But get through it she did, even with English being her second language, and she received many academic awards from her high school along the way.
“I’ve been going to school in English since elementary school and I was home-schooled for a few years. I don’t get as good grades in English as in French, but I’m almost as good!” admitted Lydia. The scholarship winner also spoke about how she has stayed motivated through her school years. “I like learning. Some school subjects I like less than others, but I always loved to learn. I don’t like doing homework very much but I’ve noticed that it is a good way to learn,” she mentioned.
Having many sisters has also kept Lydia motivated to work hard in school. “I’m sort of in a good competition with my sisters because they have won awards at school, too,” she said. “Sometimes I want to have really good marks but it doesn’t work out. But it’s okay; I’m trying to keep a balance although it’s not always obvious,” joked Lydia.
Although she knows with certainty that she will be continuing her educational journey next year, this soon-to-be high school graduate is still trying to figure out what she should study. “I’m thinking about maybe taking courses in the health field…but what I do know is that working with people will be key,” concluded the friendly teen.
The Horatio Alger Association of Canada received almost three thousand five hundred applications for this year’s awards in the four Canadian provinces they are present in: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Colombia. They awarded $5000 scholarships to nineteen deserving and persevering Quebec high school students, fourteen in Ontario, eighteen in Alberta and twenty in British Colombia. The Association plans to expand nationally in 2015.
Horatio Alger, who died in 1899 at sixty-eight years of age, was an American author best known for his many “rags to riches” stories about impoverished boys who succeeded in the face of adversity.
Seen here in her graduation robes, Lydia Toussaint recently received a $5000 scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association
Lydia Toussaint has received several academic awards while at Alexander Galt High School.