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Edmonton high school student lands prestigious $80K scholarship

September 9, 2014 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

Top marks and leadership earn Kirtan Dhunnoo one of 40 Schulich Leader Scholarships

Having consistently maintained an average of more than 95 per cent throughout his studies at Strathcona Composite High School, Kirtan Dhunnoo’s exceptional academic record speaks for itself.

That achievement, along with his track record as a dedicated peer tutor and award-winning athletic leader, earned him one of 40 coveted Schulich Leader Scholarships, Canada’s largest scholarship for students entering undergraduate studies in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Dhunnoo will receive $80,000 to pursue his dream of a career in engineering, beginning his undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta this fall.

“I believe that my success mainly stems from my parents’ ethos of determination and hard work,” said Dhunnoo, whose parents immigrated to Canada from an unstable African environment and subsequently committed to their own education, his father becoming a medical doctor in Alberta.

Among the many achievements highlighted in his application were his school roles as captain of the swim team and co-organizer of the Remembrance Day ceremonies. He was also one of a handful of students in Canada selected to participate in the AP Cambridge Capstone Pilot Program, an international program designed to enhance critical thinking skills.

Outside of school, Dhunnoo volunteered as a junior instructor with the University of Alberta’s DiscoverE summer camps and at his local temple as a Sunday school youth leader.

“Mr. Dhunnoo’s commitment to academic excellence coupled with his pursuit of leadership opportunities in school and beyond stood out to the selection committee,” said Seymour Schulich, a Canadian businessman and philanthropist who founded the scholarship program.

In its third year, the scholarship has provided more than $7.6 million to 120 Canadian students.

“We congratulate Mr. Dhunnoo for being among the recipients and look forward to his future achievements,” Schulich said.

Nominees of the annual Schulich Leader Scholarships awards program demonstrate at least two of the following attributes: academic excellence, outstanding community, business or entrepreneurial leadership or financial need. This year, 1,147 students were nominated. ❚

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