Silas is a 2023 graduate of Pathways Spryfield and a winner of the Schulich Leader Scholarship valued at $100,000. In the fall, he will begin undergraduate studies in biology and mathematics at Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Silas has a habit of joking around with his mother, who raised him as a single parent in Spryfield, Nova Scotia. But when he called her in the middle of a weekday afternoon, she could immediately tell from the tone of his voice that this time, it wasn’t a joke. “I said Mom, I got the Schulich Scholarship! She knew right away that I was telling the truth,” Silas recalls.
Just a few months earlier, Silas learned that his high school had nominated him for the award valued at over $100,000. The Schulich Scholarship, one of the most prestigious prizes in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, is granted to 100 students across Canada every year. It was a perfect fit for Silas, whose perseverance had allowed him to excel in academics, and specifically mathematics, all while managing a physical disability and growing up in a low-income community.
The application took a few months to put together. Still, Silas knew he could count on his support system, which included the Pathways to Education Program offered by local community partner Chebucto Connections. He had joined the program in the ninth grade and made a habit of going there to do his homework with friends on Monday nights. On top of getting help with homework, Silas enjoyed that the staff there regularly checked in with him. “Pathways staff really make a difference,” Silas shares. “Getting positive comments and feedback on where you can grow is so powerful for students in Spryfield. It’s an encouragement to be more curious and learn subjects that might have a reputation for being difficult.”
That confidence led Silas to challenge himself by signing up for top classes like pre-calculus and advanced placement courses. When things got challenging or his disability got in the way, Pathways staff helped Silas reach out to teachers. That support, alongside the help he got from the Pathways academic advisor with his application essays, helped Silas become a top candidate for the Schulich Scholarship. “Pathways made me feel like I could achieve my goals,” Silas shares. “The staff always reminded me that the challenges I faced wouldn’t be there tomorrow or a year from now.”
As Silas prepares to graduate and head off to university in the fall, he’s quick to express gratitude for those who have helped him get there. But it’s a two-way street. At Pathways Spryfield, Hakim, the staff member who spent the past two years working with Silas, knows that this young leader’s achievements will go a long way in his home community. “Knowing that a student from Spryfield could get this kind of scholarship is such a big deal,” Hakim shares. “Silas’ journey is extremely inspiring for me and the rest of the staff. Most of all, it will inspire generations of future students at Pathways Spryfield.”
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