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Local university students grateful for Skid Watson scholarship

Scholarship 'has not only given me the motivation to strive for excellence ... but has also made it easier to focus on my learning and self-development,' says Orillia student

Almost one year after three local Orillia students received the inaugural Skid Watson YMCA Scholarship, the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka is following up to see how the award has helped the students navigate their first year of post-secondary education.

The scholarship is named in memory of local humanitarian and leader, Gordon Alexander “Skid” Watson, recognizing his commitment to lifelong learning, youth development, and the YMCA movement in our community, across Canada and throughout the world.

The scholarship fund is held by the Community Foundation of Orillia and Area in partnership with the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka, and presented three winners with $1,433 each last June. The scholarships are awarded to graduating secondary school students in Orillia who exemplify the YMCA values of kindness, integrity, inclusiveness, respect, and optimism.

Transitioning to post-secondary education can be challenging, but for Elora Cronk, Samantha Strong and Zoha Fatima, the transition has been eased in part because of the financial support of their scholarships.

Stong is studying Linguistics at McGill University, and is “truly enjoying my courses and the experience of living in a new city.” She noted that the scholarship has allowed her to “focus solely on my studies” while adjusting to living in Montreal.

Fatima is studying biochemistry, and noted that, “the Skid Watson Scholarship has not only given me the motivation to strive for excellence in my post-secondary education but has also made it easier to focus on my learning and self-development. I am so grateful for having received this award because it has made my post-secondary academic goals achievable.”

Cronk encourages everyone to apply to the scholarship and is grateful for its support. 

“I am loving the business program at Lakehead and am so happy with the pathway I took. I want to say thank you again for the scholarship; it has truly helped me so much as I settle into my first year of university," said Cronk. 

"The Skid Watson YMCA Scholarship has allowed me to get the most out of my education, as it has lessened my financial stress. I find that I can focus more on enjoying university and doing well in my classes.”  

Applications for the next round of the Skid Watson YMCA Scholarship will open in spring 2023 for graduating secondary school students in Orillia. Stay tuned to the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka’s social media channels and website for more information.



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