Silas Mertz, a Grade 12 student at Crowsnest Consolidated High School (CCHS), has been selected to receive a $100,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Calgary beginning this fall.
“This scholarship is incredible and opens so many doors for me,” says Silas. “Rather than having to focus primarily on student loans and the high costs that come with post-secondary education, I can better focus on my passions and learning. I want to be able to change the world for the better.“
CCHS Principal Paul Pichurski is confident Silas will do just that. "During his time at Crowsnest Consolidated High School, Silas has been an exemplary student both academically speaking as well as in his contributions to the overall school culture,” says Paul. “He has consistently taken on academic, athletic and leadership challenges within the school and in our community and has demonstrated a high level of achievement in each of these areas. We are grateful to have had Silas as a student in our school and we look forward to watching his learning and growth continue as he moves into the world of post-secondary education."
This year, the value of the Schulich Leader Scholarship has increased to address the increased cost of living across Canada. A total of 100 scholarships are being awarded: 50 engineering scholarships valued at $120,000 each and 50 science, technology, or math scholarships valued at $100,000 each.
Silas’ mom, Katherine Mertz, says that Silas waited three days before telling his parents that he has been awarded the scholarship. “After thinking there was a chance he was switched at birth,” she jokes, “we had a few tears realizing he really would be leaving. My husband and I feel nothing but pride in his accomplishment. We are thrilled he will have the financial pressures of schooling alleviated, but most importantly, we want him to find happiness and success at the University of Calgary.”
Recognizing the increasing importance and impact that STEM disciplines will have on the prosperity of future generations, businessman and philanthropist Seymour Schulich established a $100+ million scholarship fund in 2012 to encourage Canada’s best and brightest students to become Schulich Leader Scholars: the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators.
Through The Schulich Foundation, these prestigious entrance scholarships are awarded to 100 high school graduates enrolling in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) undergraduate program at 20 partner universities in Canada. Every high school in Canada can submit one Schulich Leader Nominee per academic year based on academic excellence in STEM, entrepreneurial leadership and financial need.
“Being nominated, I felt like it was a very special opportunity to represent our school well, even if I didn’t win anything,” says Silas. “Now it’s an incredible honor to be able to represent my school, community, and family in such a positive way.”
Congratulations to Silas on this well-deserved award. We wish him all the best in his future pursuits.