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  |  Posted: Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 06:00 am

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Bellerose grad wins big

A Bellerose graduate is going to college for free this fall thanks to a big scholarship.

Emily Moloney, a former St. Albert resident who graduated from Bellerose Composite High earlier this year, is attending the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) this fall for free thanks to an entrance scholarship from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.

The scholarship is the biggest one of its kind in Canada, according to Jesse Helmer, spokesperson for the Canadian Merit Scholarship Foundation (which administers the award), with as many as 50 Canadians receiving it each year.

Moloney is the second St. Albert resident in history to receive the award, Helmer said. She may also be the last, as the scholarship is being reworked for next year.

“There’s a lot of students with leadership potential in the college sector,” Helmer said, and this award is meant to invest in them. It recognizes college-bound students who show a passion for their field of study and their communities.

The award includes a one-year tuition waiver and an $8,000 a year stipend, both of which can be can be renewed twice. Recipients also receive up to $3,500 for a summer work experience project of their choice and access to a mentor.

Moloney was one of 800 people who applied for the award this year, Helmer said, and had to write multiple essays and pass several interviews to become one of the 40 recipients.

Moloney, 17, said she learned she’d won last June as she was walking home from her diploma exams. “I just about dropped my phone I was so excited,” she said. “I started crying and I called my mom as soon as I got off the phone.”

A member of the Bellerose student council, Moloney has spent many hours volunteering for the 55+ Games, Special Olympics, International Children’s Festival and Operation Christmas Child. She has painted several murals in town, taught Sunday school, led Girl Guides and volunteered 140 hours at the Tudor Glen Veterinary Hospital.

Juggling all that plus school and a social life takes a lot of prioritization, she said. This scholarship was a big help, as it freed her from getting a part-time job.

Moloney is enrolled in NAIT’s animal health technician program, and said she hopes to become a zookeeper. “Ever since I’ve been little, I’ve always loved animals.”

She hoped to intern at a California zoo that has 38 species of cats, this summer.

She encouraged other students to stick with their interests and to give back to their communities. “If you don’t give anything, you won’t get anything back in return.”

Grades stay high

Local school boards were all smiles this week after they received top marks on last year’s provincial achievement and diploma exams.

The province released the results of the 2011-2012 provincial achievement and diploma exams earlier this month. The results suggest that, for the first time, more than 20 per cent of grades 3, 6, and 9 students met the standard of excellence (i.e. scored higher than 80 per cent) on their provincial achievement tests.

The Sturgeon School Division saw big improvements in its Grade 9 math scores, said curriculum and instruction director Wolfgang Jeske, with about 73 per cent of its students meeting the “acceptable” standard on last year’s achievement test — up considerably from the 58 per cent that did in 2010. “That’s 15 per cent over two years.”

Glenys Edwards, an associate superintendant with the St. Albert public board, said she was thrilled with her district’s results, especially when it came to Grade 6 and 9 science. “We have a number of schools in which 50 per cent or more of kids are achieving at the excellence level,” she said, a fact she attributed to skilled staff and ready access to resources such as Big Lake.

About a quarter of the Catholic board’s elementary students met that standard on their achievement tests, said board chair David Keohane, attributing their scores to the hard work put in by teachers.

Results for individual districts can be found at education.alberta.ca/admin/testing.aspx.


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