Salmon Arm Secondary student Mackenzie Richards was awarded a $40,000 scholarship by the The Cmolik Foundation. (Contributed)

Salmon Arm Secondary student Mackenzie Richards was awarded a $40,000 scholarship by the The Cmolik Foundation. (Contributed)

Hard work and perseverence helps land Salmon Arm student a $40,000 scholarship

MacKenzie Richards to receive funding through the The Cmolik Foundation

A Salmon Arm Secondary student’s hard work and academic achievements have earned her a prestigious award that includes a $40,000 scholarship.

According to a School District 83 media release, Sullivan campus graduating student Mackenzie Richards was selected for the scholarship from The Cmolik Foundation. She’d actually been shortlisted for two other scholarships, the Beedie Luminary scholarship and the Centennial Scholarship with the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), but could only accept the one.

Richards, who is going to UBCO, received The Cmolik Foundation award in recognition of her achievements in overcoming adversity and excelling in her studies.

A spokesperson for The Cmolik Foundation, Elisa Carlson, said the selection committee was impressed with Richards’ application, as well as her academic and career aspirations. Carlson said the award honours Richards’ hard work and commitment.

Richards said she is excited to attend UBCO this September and intends to pursue a PhD in mathematics or physics. She’s not sure what her career will be yet, but she knows it will be in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She wants to continue to be academically challenged and be in a role where she can lead, mentor or teach others.

Rob Cadden, principal at the Sullivan campus, said the staff and students at the school are incredibly proud of Richards. He said her self-determination, commitment, grit and perseverance will prove valuable as she navigates her journey through life.

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“This is only just the beginning for MacKenzie and her impact on others in the future will be noteworthy,” said Cadden.

Richards said she was ecstatic learn her hours of hard work on applications paid off. She said she almost didn’t apply for the Cmolik scholarship as she thought there was no way she would win.

Richards grew up homesteading at her family’s off-grid cabin with limited resources and a heavy chore load. They collected rainwater for their cabin, heat came from a wood stove and electricity came primarily from solar panels. Richards spent many summers hauling firewood, tending to animals and doing other chores.

Richards said it’s awesome to have a good portion of her undergraduate education covered and that it’s a weight off her shoulders.

The Cmolik Foundation was founded in 2008 by Ellen and Russ Cmolik. With a strong belief in the power of education, the foundation’s goal is to provide opportunities for youth who have experienced adversity in their lives.

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