Lethbridge student takes home national scholarship

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – A Grade 12 student at Winston Churchill High School has been named a 2023 Loran Scholar.

Steven Yang is one of 36 students across Canada who will take home the prestigious scholarship.

The Loran Award provides recipients with a four-year leadership enrichment program that includes summer work experiences, mentorship programs, scholar gatherings, an annual living stipend and a tuition waiver at one of 25 university partners.

Yang said he was chosen out of nearly 4,800 applicants after going through an extensive interview process that sent him to Toronto at the end of February 2023.

“They were very in-depth; they asked a lot of deep questions. Really, throughout the process, they’re just trying to find out who you are, you know, what you’re motivated by, what you’re passionate about,” explained Yang.

Loran scholars are chosen based on their drive to step up in the face of challenges and make positive change in their communities.

In Yang’s case, the Lethbridge student was the founder of a city-integrated environmental project that disposes of cigarette litter sustainably.

After volunteering with Environment Lethbridge and participating in Coulee Clean Ups, Yang applied for a ‘Youth in Action’ grant through the Community Foundation of Southwestern Alberta.

Yang said, “So, I took that opportunity, I started this initiative, and basically, we collect cigarette butts from the downtown area and then we ship them to Toronto, and they get recycled and get made into new materials.”

He went on to create a Math Club to help other students in his school and encourage learning amongst his peers.

Lethbridge’s Loran scholar also competes in provincial speech and piano competitions, has his paintings displayed in city galleries, and programs software for a sports-fantasy community.

Yang has already applied to universities for software engineering in eastern Canada, but he says he looks forward to the other opportunities that the Loran Award will provide.

“One of the things they do is a four-year summer work experience program, so each summer, they can send you overseas so you can go to other countries and it’s this internship experience,” said Yang.

He continued, “So, there’s a lot of opportunities that it gives you, and more importantly, the connections with other scholars and kids. Like, next year, I get to go to finals [of the Loran Award search process] again to help out with the new finalists, so that’s something that I’m looking forward to.”

Yang says he is extremely grateful for the opportunity and thanked several people and organizations for their support throughout the process, including The City of Lethbridge, the Downtown BRZ and the Lethbridge School Division.

CEO of the Loran Scholars Foundation, Meghan Moore, said, “What makes Loran a little different from other traditional scholarships is that we look beyond marks to find students who show strength of character, a commitment to service, and leadership potential.”

Moore went on, “Like all our scholars, Steven not only possesses those characteristics, but also has a breadth of academic and extra-curricular interests and is motivated by his desire to leave his part of the world better than he found it. Having been assessed and interviewed by 12 people over the course of our selections process, it is these qualities that shone through for Steven, and we are very excited to see how he continues to make a difference as a Loran Scholar.”

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