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Local student earns coveted Horatio Alger scholarship

Patrick Fogarty's Ceili Hopkins plans to use $5,000 to pursue nursing degree; Local student said she is 'so grateful' for 'amazing opportunity'
ceilli hopkins
Patrick Fogarty student Ceili Hopkins has earned a $5,000 scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association of Canada. Contributed photo

A local student is one of 170 pupils chosen from thousands of applicants from across Canada to be awarded a highly sought-after scholarship.

Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School student Ceili Hopkins said she is grateful to be selected as a winner of the $5,000 scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association of Canada.

The “need-based” scholarship is awarded to high school students who have overcome adversity and are seeking a university education.

“I had been researching scholarships to help ease the stress of paying for post-secondary,” Hopkins told OrilliaMatters. “I came across the Horatio Alger Scholarship and realized this was an amazing opportunity.”

She said she stressed her dedication toward education in her application.

“Throughout high school, mental health issues are very common,” said Hopkins. “Students like myself struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. I have been able to find ways to cope and overcome these adversities which allowed me to be a good candidate for this scholarship.”

She was thrilled to be selected for the scholarship. 

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be awarded this scholarship. I’d like to publicly say thank you to the Horatio Alger team,” Hopkins said.

The dedicated student plans to use the money to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. She’s not sure yet where she will be going to school.

The Horatio Alger Association of Canada, is a charitable organization dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles.

The Association selected 10 recipients of the $10,000 Horatio Alger National Entrepreneurial Scholarships, awarded to students who demonstrate a desire and ability to be entrepreneurial in a chosen field, and 160 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholarships valued at $5,000 each.

Prem Watsa, the President of the Horatio Alger Association of Canada and a member of the organization since 2012, congratulated this year’s winners.

“2020 marks a milestone for the Association,” said Watsa. “With these 170 new Horatio Alger Scholars, we will have awarded scholarships to over 1,000 hard-working Canadian students since the program’s inception in 2012.”

Horatio Alger scholarships are awarded annually to deserving high school students in financial need who have overcome significant adversity while demonstrating strength of character, strong academics, a commitment to pursuing higher education as well as a desire to contribute to society. Funds can be used for university studies.

In addition to these 170 scholarships, the Association will offer 25 Vocational and Technical Education scholarships, 45 Fairfax Financial Holdings Entrance Awards, and five Indigenous Achievement scholarships later this year.

Since 2012, $6.28 million in scholarships have been awarded to 1,126 deserving young Canadians. Annually, the Association awards $1.2 million in need-based scholarships to 245 students.

The Association received thousands of applications from coast to coast to coast, with each submission confirming the necessity of these needs-based scholarships:

  • The average annual family income of the recipients was $29,575;
  • 29% suffered from physical, mental, or sexual abuse;
  • 26% of the scholars experienced abandonment by a parent or guardian;
  • 24% faced drug or alcohol abuse in the household;
  • 18% experienced disability or serious illness;
  • 11% faced the death of a parent or guardian;
  • 6% experienced the incarceration of a parent or guardian;
  • 5% are wards of the state or in foster care;
  • 4% have faced homelessness.

Nevertheless, the average recipient maintains an exceptional GPA of 3.74.

About the Horatio Alger Association of Canada

The Horatio Alger Association of Canada honours the achievements of outstanding individuals who have succeeded in spite of adversity by bestowing to them the Horatio Alger Award and granting them lifetime membership into the Association. 

Through the generosity of Horatio Alger Members, the Horatio Alger Association of Canada awards scholarships annually to deserving young people in every province and territory. Members of the Association include Alain Bouchard, Dominic D’Alessandro, Murray Edwards, Serge Godin, Wayne Gretzky, Jay S. Hennick, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Rebecca MacDonald, the late G. Wallace F. McCain, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Jim Pattison, Gerald W. Schwartz, Isadore Sharp, Prem Watsa and Rick Waugh. 

For more information, visit The Association can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram


Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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