A local student has been nominated to receive a national scholarship worth more that $100,000.
Dave MacTaggart of École Secondaire Notre Dame High School is among the finalists for this year’s Loran Awards.
“I’m the youngest of three kids, so my sisters had applied for it as well when they were in high school. So (applying) was just kind of a natural thing,” said MacTaggart, who earlier this month became one of the top 80 candidates out of 4,200 applicants for the award, which includes a $9,000 annual stipend as well as a matching tuition waiver, which, according to a press release from the Loran Scholars Foundation, is unique in Canada. This year there are 30 Loran Awards available and winners are selected, “On the basis of character, service, and leadership potential.”
The selection process for the awards, MacTaggart said, is rigorous and involves many different essays and interviews.
“The school was able to nominate three people, so I was one of them, and then through that you submitted an online application that included approximately five essays and a bunch of other small writing excerpts,” he said, adding he then had to go through a round of regional interviews at the beginning of December.
Now in his Grade 12 year, the Lacombe native is the student body president at Notre Dame, an eight year member of the Central Alberta 4-H Beef Club, and has won awards at the provincial and national levels for public speaking.
He raises cattle at his family’s home in Lacombe and has a passion for agriculture that has driven his decision to attend the University of Saskatchewan for Crop Sciences.
He’s also very involved with athletics and has competed in bike races, runs cross-country and served as the captain of the Notre Dame junior varsity volleyball team last year.
When asked how he manages to balance all of his extra curricular activities, MacTaggart said the secret lies in identifying one’s priorities.
“At certain times you have to realize that certain activities are going to be more rigorous and require more time than others, so you have to be willing to give and take with each activity at certain points,” he said.
As an example, MacTaggart used the school’s exam break.
“In my life right now I’m not spending as much time with student council or with my cattle at home. I’m really concentrating on my studies. But there just has to be that understanding that at certain points you won’t be able to get all of your work done in every single category you’re involved in. You just have to have that give and take and you just have to know that you’ll catch up with it as long as you’re disciplined.”
For MacTaggart, winning the scholarship would be an opportunity to grow as a member of society.
“It’s not the deciding factor of whether I’ll be able to go to post-secondary, but it will open a lot of doors for me in that regard. Also there’s summer programs involved with the Loran Scholarship, so you get to become a much more globally-minded citizen,” he said.
“You can really learn people’s perspectives not only from around the world but also in Canada, as well, because you get to meet all of the different people who are involved in it. I think that would be very important for building me as who I am.”
Next, MacTaggart will head to Ontario for a round of national interviews before the final selections.