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Student at Orillia Georgian campus wins $30K Scotiabank scholarship

The 20-year-old is entering her third year of a counselling psychology program at Georgian College's Orillia campus in September
Sarah Dilloo pretends to deposit a novelty cheque at Scotiabank's Alcona branch May 14. She recently won a $30,000 grand prize through the financial institution's Scotia Funds Your Future contest.

Sarah Dilloo just hit the scholarship jackpot.

The Innisfil resident, 20, recently won a $30,000 grand prize through Scotiabank’s Scotia Funds Your Future contest. She’ll be entering her third year in the honours bachelor of counselling psychology program at Georgian College’s Orillia campus in September.

But Dilloo wants to be a clinical psychologist, which means several more years of post-secondary education — and with that, schooling-related bills easily totalling into six figures.

In other words, she’s grateful for any opportunity to put a dent into her pending debt.

“I’m looking at different plans — it might be, like, 10-ish years more,” she said, sitting in the Alcona Scotiabank branch May 14. “I was thinking of going for a master’s degree and a PsyD, one step under a PhD. (This) helps so much. It’s fantastic. It doesn’t feel like it’s real. It’s a really big amount of money. I’ve never seen a cheque that big. It’s motivating to continue going to school because I was questioning whether I even could because of how much it would cost.”

Dilloo’s fascination with the field began at Nantyr Shores Secondary School, after reaching an age where she could take a specific psychology and sociology class, rather than the more generalized science courses of earlier grades.

“When we talked about mental illnesses and disorders, I thought they were, for lack of a better word, cool,” she said. “It was just something I became very interested in. I found myself researching more in my off time.”

In total, two grand prizes were handed out — Dilloo collected the domestic-student scholarship, while another was given to an international student living elsewhere in Canada.

This is the third time the contest has run, but Dilloo is the first local entrant to win.

“The idea is to help with those costs associated with students paying for post-secondary education of some sort,” branch manager Kathy Durdle said. “The bank does a lot of things that benefit a lot of people in a multitude of different ways. Our branch, too, tries to do some things in the community to help out. But we’ve never been able to do something this scale at a branch level. It’s really nice to have something like this to share.”

You did not have to be a client of Sociatibank to participate, though the maximum number of ballots an individual could enter was determined by the amount of bank products used, such as savings accounts, banking bundles, and student credit cards.

And to be eligible, entrants had to be at least 17 years old, living in Canada as of Jan. 31, and enrolled in a post-secondary institution in the country by that date.

Dilloo, a Scotiabank client, says she entered on a whim, after getting an email about it from the bank.

“Sometimes you just push it into spam," she said. "(But) I was applying to some scholarships just to see if I could get them. It was so easy to enter. I never thought this was something that could happen to me, but it did. It’s just pure luck. It’s a risk-free chance you could take.”


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Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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