Harley Bray: Leader of tomorrow
Harley Bray isn’t your typical 17 year old. The Grade 12 Churchill High School student spends nearly 50 hours a week volunteering or doing extracurricular activities. Among them, Bray volunteers with 19 programs and organizations at school and in the community, including Churchill’s PeaceLearners Program and UNESCO Committee. Outside of school Bray donates her time with Riverview Health Centre as well as the Montrose and Riverview elementary schools, and a number of other programs. Additionally, Bray competes on Churchill’s curling, golf, rugby and dragon boat teams; manages the football and hockey teams; and is the school’s mascot.
Because of her unending dedication to community service and extra curricular activities and near perfect grades, Bray was one of six students awarded the Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship.
“I was at our school’s hockey playoff game when I received a call from Jane Lastra,” says Bray. “I couldn’t stop shaking the entire phone call. Once Jane had congratulated me, I was so excited I forgot half of what she said and later had to phone her back to ask about the formalities.”
After hearing the good news, Bray immediately called the most influential person in her life, her mom, and started to cry as soon as she heard her mom’s voice.
“My mom started getting worried, thinking I was hurt. I reassured her that everything was more than alright. I just started saying, ‘Thank you, mom,’ over and over again. Without her I would not have the honour of accepting this scholarship. It was her that drove me to drop off the application, went to every performance, sporting event ever since I can remember and supported me through every project, initiative and fundraiser that I put on.”
The financial award goes to exceptional high school graduates who combine outstanding leadership potential with academic giftedness. Each scholarship is valued at $16,000 over four years, including a $2,000 per year contribution from BMO. The award has been given out annual since 1994, recognizing students who demonstrate excellent academic standing, leadership potential, and continuing community involvement.
“The Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship is much more than a monetary award,” says Bray. “That is just the icing on top of the cake. This has opened so many doors for me and I am so excited to become involved in the community at the U of M. I wish to take this scholarship as an opportunity to meet many new people and work with them towards a brighter future.”
Raised by her mom, Bray grew up near the small town of Austin, Manitoba, a place she calls her favourite in the world; a place she says helped form who she is.
“Every single day, I make it my goal to help someone else, even if it is just getting someone who was maybe having a bad day laugh at one of my bad jokes because if I can do that then at the end of the day it is all worthwhile. Growing up, my mom taught me that to do anything less than my best is to simply sacrifice the gift that we are all given. My passion started at home with me just wanting to be the best for my mom and that is why everyday I thrive to the best that I can be.”
A $16,000 scholarship will help Bray do even more. When she starts at the U of M, Bray will pursue a career in pediatric care. She’s inspired by the often selfless acts of care medical professionals give their patients and says this is what leadership is about.
“Leadership is so much more than the person in charge. Our job as leaders is to put the power in the hands of others. I look at being a pediatrician not as a way of income, but as a lifestyle and there is no greater lifestyle than having the opportunity to heal and improve the lives of others while investing in our future,” says Bray.