There are hundreds of awards and accolades handed out to students across the nation and around the world, all of them exciting and important in shaping the lives of those students. But when it comes to being named a Loran Scholar, there is something extra-special about it.
That’s because the selection of a Loran Scholar pays special attention to the character of the young person being considered. The Limestone District School Board words it beautifully when they explain the selection process.
“The Loran Scholars Foundation believes that integrity, courage, grit, and personal autonomy are better indicators of overall potential than standard academic measures. To discover these traits, they administer a comprehensive and thorough scholarship selection process,” the Board said in a press release.
This year, 36 Loran Scholars were selected from a pool of 5,194 applicants based on “evidence of character, commitment to community service, and leadership potential.”
This year, Taim Saeed, a student at LCVI, a Syrian refugee and a proud Canadian, is one of those 36 students.
Loran Scholars are considered Canada’s next generation of leaders, and they receive opportunities to explore, develop, and share their talents over four years of undergraduate studies at one of the 25 Loran Scholar partner universities. Each Loran Scholar is awarded an annual stipend of $10,000 and matching tuition waiver, access to $10,000 in funding for summer internships, one-on-one mentorships, and annual retreats and gatherings with their fellow Loran Scholars.
To better understand of just how outstanding these students – and Taim – are, one only needs to look to the selection process. The 5,194 applicants this year were whittled down to 545 semi-finalists, all of whom were interviewed by more than 400 volunteers. The 88 finalists out of that process were invited to the National Selections on Friday, Jan. 31 and Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. The 36 Loran Scholars selected were interviewed and assessed by up to 12 different people over the course of three months.
Taim is the only Loran Scholar representing Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington.
What makes Taim the ideal student to be a Loran Scholar? Well, for starters, he is incredibly kind, a survivor of war-torn Syria, and has overcome more in the first decades of his life than most people ever do. Beyond that, Taim excels in his studies. But it’s more than that.
Taim has been working part-time since grade nine. He is a support team member with the Refugee Resettlement Services Kingston. He started and leads a translating committee to help with teacher-parent communications for non-English speakers at his school, and he is also the captain of both his football and rugby team.