Em­brac­ing life

Morell Re­gional High School stu­dent in the run­ning for ma­jor schol­ar­ship based on char­ac­ter, ser­vice and lead­er­ship po­ten­tial

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - THE GUARDIAN

Morell Re­gional High School stu­dent in the run­ning for ma­jor schol­ar­ship based on char­ac­ter, ser­vice and lead­er­ship po­ten­tial.

Some are said to have mil­lion­dol­lar per­son­al­i­ties.

Shane Pen­der­gast would be thrilled if his make-up is soon val­ued at one-tenth that amount.

The 17-year-old Morell Re­gional High School stu­dent is the lone P.E.I. can­di­date among 80 fi­nal­ists across Canada vy­ing for a pres­ti­gious and lu­cra­tive schol­ar­ship.

Pen­der­gast was cho­sen based on ev­i­dence of char­ac­ter, ser­vice and lead­er­ship po­ten­tial from an ini­tial pool of 4,200 ap­pli­cants seek­ing se­lec­tion as a Lo­ran Scholar.

Founded in 1988, the Lo­ran Schol­ars Foun­da­tion is a na­tional char­ity that part­ners with 25 univer­si­ties to in­vest in ex­cep­tional young Cana­di­ans.

By all ac­counts, Pen­der­gast is noth­ing short of ex­cep­tional.

He sim­ply em­braces life both in and out of school with pas­sion, care, suc­cess and hu­mil­ity.

Ian Cof­fin, a teacher at Morell Re­gional, says Pen­der­gast is fully en­gaged in all that he tack­les.

“Shane strives for ex­cel­lence in his school work, of­ten go­ing be­yond the guide­lines to pro­duce cre­ative (and mem­o­rable) pieces,” Cof­fin wrote in the ref­er­ence let­ter in­cluded in the stu­dent’s ap­pli­ca­tion for the schol­ar­ship.

“His love of and in­ter­est in his com­mu­nity is re­fresh­ing.” Shane’s reach is wide. He plays bas­ket­ball and coaches the sport.

Strum­ming gui­tar, he is the youngest mem­ber of the St. Bon­aven­ture’s Ro­man Catholic Church Choir in his com­mu­nity of Tra­cadie Cross.

He is on the stu­dent coun­cil. He is part of the prom com­mit­tee. He pro­motes safety in the school.

In ad­di­tion to bas­ket­ball, he plays soc­cer and bad­minton and hopes to again find time in his crazily busy sched­ule to re­turn to track and field.

“I have a wide va­ri­ety of in­ter­ests,’’ he says.

“I want to feel ful­filled in ev­ery­thing I do .... I get in­ter­ested in things so eas­ily.’’

Morell Mar­lins bas­ket­ball coach Tyler Read gushes over both the skill and char­ac­ter his bas­ket­ball star Pen­der­gast ex­hibits all the time.

Says Read: “He’s a great leader. He’s a quiet leader. He doesn’t lose his cool what­so­ever ... he just qui­etly takes care of busi­ness.’’

Read says Pen­der­gast im­presses both on and off the court. He de­scribes the teen as the very def­i­ni­tion of a bal­anced stu­dent.

“He doesn’t have any ego,’’ he says.

“He’s very mod­est. He gives ev­ery­one the time of day. He’s very ma­ture.’’

Pen­der­gast at­tributes be­ing well-grounded to pos­i­tive in­flu­ence from his grand­par­ents and his par­ents: Michael, a well­known lo­cal mu­si­cian, and Carolyn, a teacher and li­brar­ian at Morell Re­gional.

He says his par­ents taught him the im­por­tance of re­spect and in­clu­sion.

“You have to be on the same page,’’ he says. “You can’t be self­ish.’’

Pen­der­gast will be at­tend­ing the na­tional Lo­ran Scholar selections in Toronto early in Fe­bru­ary.

He says a ma­jor schol­ar­ship would “be amaz­ing’’ in help­ing fi­nance film study.

Pen­der­gast made his first film, a James Bond spoof, while in Grade 5. He rel­ishes the ner­vous­ness he felt just be­fore the short film was played in the school.

Since then, he has posted about 10 of his short films on YouTube.

He also made a mov­ing Re­mem­brance Day video last year, draw­ing on an au­dio record­ing of a vet­eran de­scrib­ing what it was like in the trenches.

Pen­der­gast notes in his gen­uine mod­est fash­ion that he can­not re­ally pre­pare for the up­com­ing in­ter­views that could land him up to $100,000 in schol­ar­ship money.

“All I can do is be who I am and if they like me, they’ll pick me,’’ he says.

JIM DAY/THE GUARDIAN

Shane Pen­der­gast of Tra­cadie Cross is in the run­ning for a schol­ar­ship worth up to $100,000. He says the schol­ar­ship would “be amaz­ing” in his de­sire to study film at a top univer­sity.

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