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Zoe Quill was born in Winnipeg but considers Sapotaweyak Cree Nation her second home.

Zoe Quill.

The next Leaders of Tomorrow

Scholarships award eight high school students who show far-reaching abilities

March 27, 2018 — 

They are some of the brightest graduating high school students in Canada. They are also among the most selfless and caring. They are the University of Manitoba’s BMO Financial Group Leaders of Tomorrow and BMO Financial Group Indigenous Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship recipients.

This year, eight promising students have been selected to receive these scholarships. Each will receive a financial award of $16,000, allocated over four years of study.

“This year’s recipients are not only excelling academically, but are also investing countless hours of time to their communities in selfless and genuine ways,” says Jane Lastra, the U of M’s director of financial aid and awards. “These students shine as pure examples of the next leaders of tomorrow – shaping the path for future generations to come.”

To be eligible for these awards, high school graduates must show a combination of outstanding leadership potential, academic giftedness and continuing community involvement. The 2018 BMO Financial Group Indigenous Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship recipients are Zoe Quill and Tessa Robert-Betzold. Rachel Bernhardt, Hayley Bray, Katherine Hawthorne, Hayley Jenkins, Hannah Levit and Riley Sierhuis have each received the BMO Financial Group Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship.

Zoe Quill was born and raised in Winnipeg but considers Sapotaweyak Cree Nation her second home. In the fall of 2018, the 18-year-old from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate will start her journey toward becoming a surgeon. Entering the U of M as an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Science, Zoe plans to major in biochemistry.

“From the moment I was introduced to science, I have never looked anywhere else. I took every science course available and biology and chemistry became my favourites by far,” says Quill. “It was as if they were made for me.”

Quill got involved in numerous community activities but was especially drawn to ones that connect back to her Indigenous background, such as the Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program.

“These activities inspired me to want to do great things, not just for myself but for others, especially toward other Indigenous people. The experience has motivated me to want to give back to my community in any way possible.” 

For Quill, this award means that she has the support of many to achieve her dreams of becoming a surgeon.

“This award is important because it shows that a continuous effort to rise above and a hard work ethic can introduce you to many opportunities,” says Quill.

The support that donors like BMO Financial Group provide to the U of M awards program enables students to be recognized for their academic excellence, and also reduces financial barriers to post-secondary success. With these awards, students are able to plan, focus on their academics and carry on traditions such as leadership, strength, service and innovation.

Riley Sierhuis will graduate from St. Paul’s High School this spring. While completing his studies, he also devoted his time to fundraising for the community. In addition to raising money with Katie’s Krew in the Winnipeg Dragon Boat Festival, Riley and a friend also started a winter wear clothing drive at St. Paul’s. Riley credits his volunteerism and community outreach experience with pushing him to find new ways of helping people; something he hopes to continue at the U of M.

Riley Sierhuis.

Riley Sierhuis.

Sierhuis says he has always been amazed by the natural world and plans to major in biological science to continue learning about life in all of its forms. His goal is to work for the World Health Organization one day.

“I am honoured to have received this award and I am thankful for everyone around me who has helped me to get where I am today,” says Sierhuis. “This award will make a big impact in managing the costs of university. I think it is a meaningful award because it recognizes and supports students who have worked hard to excel and contribute to their communities.”


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