I spoke with Our Lady of the Snows Grade 12 student Jenna Murphy about a huge scholarship she recently received.


Rob: Tell us a little bit about this big scholarship you received.

Jenna: I’ve been honored to receive the Schulich Leader Scholarship for engineering at the University of Calgary for $100,000.

Rob: $100,000? That’s amazing!

Jenna: Yeah. It’s super exciting.

Rob: What was your reaction when you found out that you had received this giant scholarship?

Jenna: I was super shocked and super surprised and just so excited.

Rob: What are your post-secondary plans?

Jenna: I’m going into engineering at U of C starting in the fall. I’m thinking about doing mechanical engineering because I think that it’s a really good fit for my skillset. I’m super excited to join a bunch of clubs and teams at the University of Calgary. They have some really awesome extracurricular programs for their engineering students. It’s going to be fun.

Rob: How has this scholarship going to make a difference for you?

Jenna: This scholarship is going to allow me to really focus on my education without having to worry about financing so that I can pursue extracurricular activities. I’m also a competitive Highland dancer. I’ll be able to keep dancing without having to worry about funding my own education.

Rob: This is probably the most bizarre school year I can remember. How have you been coping with the transition to online education?

Jenna: It’s been a big change and was a really sudden transition. We had no idea that the middle of March would be our last day. For me, the last day of high school. My teachers are all doing a really good job of giving us support when we need it. We’ve been having Zoom calls and can call teachers individually if we have any trouble. We’re doing the best we can given the circumstances.

Rob: There’s the big Our Lady of the Snows graduation parade on Thursday, but you don’t get the big celebration that the grads normally get with the big party. What are your feelings about the changes to how you get to celebrate your grad this year?

Jenna: It’s disappointing that we’re all not going to be able to be together to celebrate our grad, but the school is doing a great job of making an effort to make this as memorable as possible and as special as it can be. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re doing the parade, as you said, and then our cap and gown over Zoom. And we get to come back in December to have our formal dinner and dance, which is going to be really nice to come back after a semester of university or away from home to see everybody again.

Rob: You’re the third recipient from Our Lady of the Snows for this scholarship over the past four years. That’s pretty amazing for a school this size. In your experience, is there something about OLS that inspires that kind of academic greatness?

Jenna: OLS has a really great academic focus and the teachers are supportive and invested in helping their students succeed. And OLS has a lot of extracurricular activities that provide in-depth STEM experiences outside of a traditional classroom. We have a robotics club and an iGEM team. We had a two-year synthetic engineering and genetic biology project focusing on plastics, and we competed our project in Boston against 300 other international teams. We were awarded the Chairman’s Award for embodying values of integrity and effort and sportsmanship and excellence. I think it’s programs like these that give students a competitive edge when they’re applying for major scholarships.

Rob: Were you part of that team that went to Boston?

Jenna: Yeah, it was super fun. We got to meet teams from all over the world and that was such a great experience.

Rob: As you come to the end of your high school years, is there anything you’d like to say to your teachers or fellow students?

Jenna: I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the teachers who supported me and were positive role models throughout my whole time at OLS. Thanks to the administrators and teachers for making high school such a memorable experience, mostly fun, and for trying to make the best of this confusing year. To my fellow students, you were a great group of friends and I wish all the graduating class of 2020 the best going forward. It’s sad as we all go off in different directions. But it’s really exciting as we move on to new opportunities and experiences.

Filed under: Canmore, graduation