Local student wins major scholarship

Local student wins major scholarship

MacKenzie Richards, a grade 12 student at Salmon Arm Secondary Sullivan Campus has been awarded a $40,000 post-secondary scholarship with The Cmolik Foundation in recognition of her achievements in overcoming adversity and excelling in her studies. In a press release announcing the award, Foundation spokesperson Elisa Carlson reports that the Selection Committee was impressed with MacKenzie’s application, academic goals, and future career aspirations. “The award recognizes and honours MacKenzie’s hard work and commitment.”

MacKenzie is excited to continue her education at UBC Okanagan in September. “I’m not entirely sure of my career yet. I’m interested in a math or physics job where I’ll continually be academically challenged, but that also has a leadership, mentorship, or teaching aspect to it. I’ve thought about becoming a university professor, but there’s so many job possibilities for STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) major that I really don’t have any concrete career goals. I do plan on getting a PhD in mathematics or physics.”

The staff and students at Salmon Arm Secondary are incredibly proud of MacKenzie. Her self-determination and commitment to her academics, combined with her grit and perseverance are qualities that will continue to prove valuable as she navigates her journey. We are confident this is only just the beginning for MacKenzie, and her impact on others in the future will be noteworthy.

Rob Cadden, Principal at Salmon Arm Secondary (Sullivan)

MacKenzie was accepted to not only UBCO, but also McGill, The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California San Diego (UCSD), and U of California Davis (UC Davis). She was also offered three different major scholarships.

“I can’t even describe how happy I was! I put hours into all my applications, and I genuinely expected to get into one university and maybe win some small scholarships. When, within about a month, I got my university acceptances and multiple big scholarship awards, I was ecstatic and incredibly surprised.”

“All three scholarships were worth $40k over four years and neither would accept each other, so I needed to pick one. I started the application process for all of them between November and January. I almost didn’t apply to the Cmolik or for the Beedie Luminary scholarship because I thought there was no way I was going to win.”

“In April, I won the Centennial, which is a scholarship specifically to UBCO for financial need. Unfortunately, it was a scholarship that could only be used at UBCO and if I transferred to UBC or another school I would lose it. A few weeks later I had an interview for the Cmolik scholarship and that night they called me to let me know I had won. The Cmolik scholarship is all about overcoming adversity as well as maintaining good academic standing. A few days later I had an interview for the Beedie Luminary Scholarship scheduled, but because I knew I had to pick one scholarship. I canceled that interview so they could give the spot to someone else. “

In her application MacKenzie wrote about growing up homesteading in a tiny cabin off-grid with very limited resources and a very heavy chore load. They collected rainwater for their cabin, electricity came primarily from solar panels, and the heat was a wood stove.  MacKenzie spent many summer days hauling firewood, cutting brush, taking care of the various animals, and doing other homesteading-type chores. 

“I decided to pick the Cmolik scholarship because I really like the Foundation, they have a mentorship program, and they have a scholarship program that could help pay for my Master’s. I’m also planning to transfer to UBC in a year or two and I won’t lose the Cmolik scholarship when that happens.”

She commented that it was awesome to have a good portion of her bachelor’s degree covered! “It’s definitely a weight lifted from my shoulders knowing that I won’t have to worry about too much student debt or cram in as many hours of work during university.”

About The Cmolik Foundation

The Cmolik Foundation believes in the power of education to transform a student’s life journey. In addition to providing students with the funding to realize their dreams, the Foundation provides students with a Mentor, a supportive community of scholarship peers and alumni, as well as access to ongoing special events (virtual during the pandemic) and professional opportunities. Students become part of a larger community dedicated to their post-secondary success.

The Cmolik Foundation was founded in 2008 to provide opportunities for youth who have experienced adversity in their lives. Rooted in a profound belief in the power of education to transform and empower, we support undergraduate and post-secondary education, mentorship, field trips and summer camps to support the healthy development of our youth. The Cmolik Foundation provides $40,000 scholarships to deserving students from across British Columbia. Currently, we have 100 students enrolled in our Scholarship Program. The Foundation is also known for the SFU Cmolik $100,000 Prize for the Best Enhancement in Public Education.