The schools are closed, but the pursuit of excellence continues!

The Almonte Lions Club Charitable Foundation has announced the names of 10 Almonte District High School students who are the finalists for the prestigious Robert Tait McKenzie Scholarship Awards.

Finalists were identified in recognition of their contributions to school life, academic excellence, and volunteer service and leadership in the greater community.  This year we had 24 nominees! A committee of ADHS staff and Lions, then selected the 10 finalists.  They represent the very “best of the best” at ADHS.

Although the selection the finalists, and the ultimate scholarship winners, is a competitive process, we encourage everyone to view this annual event as a CELEBRATION of our wonderful students, our school, and our community!  All of the nominees are exceptional individuals, and a credit to our community.

The finalists being honoured for their “Joy of Effort” (McKenzie’s plaque which hung at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics) this year are: Abby Killeen, Silas Leroy, Scout Mahheral, Jada Masson, Emily MacLean, Jacqueline Marquise, Cassidy Potter, Jack Robinson, Kyler Schenher, and Isla Warner. Each of these students represent the qualities and ideals McKenzie modeled.  All of these students are amazing people who our community can take great pride in recognizing.

McKenzie, an 1883 ADHS graduate, was a medical doctor, athlete, artist, and sculptor.  He restored an old grist mill, which he named the Mill of Kintail in 1931.  The Mill is his memorial displaying some of his sculptures, and mementos from his lifetime.

Unfortunately, given the Covid -19 pandemic, there will be not public ceremony to honour these outstanding students as has happened in the past.  Instead, honouring the  tradition, now in its 54th consecutive year, the Almonte Lions Club, and Almonte District High School, wish to join together to highlight the accomplishments of these gifted students as they continue to pursue excellence, even when their schools are shut down!

Each of the candidates were asked to highlight their contributions in the 3 areas central to the award– academic excellence, leadership in athletics and school life, and community spirit and involvement.  Additionally, the finalists were required to present a letter of reference, from someone who knows them well, which addressed the 3 areas of the awards.  The process of selecting the two scholarship winners is always very difficult as annually all nominees are certainly worthy of recognition.

Two scholarship winners will be announced in the coming weeks.  This honour carries with it a monetary scholarship of $2000. for each of the students. Their names will also be added to the plaque which hangs in the main hall of ADHS.  (A review of the names on this plaque reveals many former students who have progressed to distinguished careers since leaving high school.) Bursaries will be offered to the other eight finalists reflecting the conviction that truly “all are winners”.  All are to be celebrated as they graduate.

The selection committee invites the entire community to take great pride in the accomplishments of these fine young people.  The staff at ADHS are to be commended for nurturing the very beat capabilities of these outstanding individuals.  We are truly blessed to live in this community, and to have the dedicated, professional, caring staff at our local high school, who work so hard to develop the potential of our young leaders of tomorrow.  Please extend your congratulations to all of these fine young people when you encounter them in our community in the months ahead.  When finally, they will be able to have a formal high school graduation ceremony, please make an effort to attend to thank all of the students, and the staff, personally.

For more information, or to discuss the scholarships further, please contact Bob Bassett, Chair of the Almonte Lions Club Charitable Foundation, at 613-256-4720 or by email at bassetts4@sympatico.ca