Grade 12 student Kyran Alikamik, originally from Ulukhaktok and now attending Inuvik’s East Three Secondary School, said winning the $100,000 Loran Award was “up there with some of the best moments of my life.”
The national scholarship package bills itself as the most comprehensive undergraduate award in Canada.
This year, 29 students across Canada have accepted offers to be this year’s Loran scholars. The organization says more than 6,000 people applied and that one additional offer is still pending. Alikamik was the only student selected from across the three territories.
“When they called me and they gave me the good news, it was kind of the culmination of every previous joy I had with being a leader. And I just felt completely proud of myself, and I let that pride take on my entire mood. It was amazing,” he told Cabin Radio.
Alikamik said the application process was “very intensive.” He described it as a lot of writing during the initial application process, followed by a video interview where he was asked about his leadership skills, character, and commitment to service in his community.
While academic results form part of the application, he said the process mostly scrutinized students’ leadership roles in their time in high school. Over the past few years, he’s taken on roles such as student council president, volunteered to run sports programs, and helped with his school’s community-run coffee shop.
After graduating this June, Alikamik is off to the University of British Columbia to begin his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees, with the eventual plan of returning to the Northwest Territories to teach.
The Loran Award is valued at approximately $100,000 over four years, including a $10,000 annual stipend plus a matching tuition waiver, mentorship, summer internship funding, and annual retreats and forums.
Up to 95 other finalist awards for provincial and territorial applicants – valued at $5,000 or $2,000 respectively – may also be handed out each year.