Samantha Giguere, the Loran Scholar from Thessalon First Nation, during her fiddle performance.

By Leslie Knibbs

THESSALON FIRST NATION—In the fall of 2016, Kelly Giguere and her daughter Samantha were looking at possible scholarships to assist Samantha with her university education. With Samantha in her last year of school at Algoma Central Secondary in Desbarats, the planning was underway for university. While reading the requirements for a Loran Scholarship, Kelly found what she thought was the ‘perfect description of her daughter’ Samantha—and the rest is history.

Samantha Giguere, a 17-year-old from Thessalon First Nation (TFN), was recently awarded a Loran Scholarship covering all expenses associated with undergraduate studies at a Canadian University. Giguere is one of 33 recipients to receive this prestigious award of $100,000 over the course of four years. Over 4,000 individuals apply annually for a Loran with the list of applicants being whittled down to a short list of 83 prospects. Samantha says applying is a very in depth process. The final selection was made after lengthy interviews in Toronto.

Loran Scholars Foundation was established in 1988 with a goal to award scholarships based on a combination of academic skills as well as extracurricular work and leadership prospects. Scholastic and athletic attributes are, generally speaking, the main considerations for most scholarships; however, the Loran Foundation looks at factors such as leadership, risk taking, and community involvement when looking at prospects.

According to the Loran Scholar website, the foundation believes that the promise of a young person is to be found in character. To find Canada’s next generation of leaders, we must look beyond grades and rankings to find the promise of character.

This is reinforced by a statement from Dr. Robert Cluett, founder of the Loran Foundation.

“Breadth, openness to challenge, and willingness to take risk are many times more important than any quantitative measure of promise,” states Dr. Robert Cluett.

Such is the way of Samantha Giguere, described by Algoma MP Carol Hughes as “a very busy person.”

Hughes announced Giguere’s scholarship in the House of Commons earlier this spring.

Samantha is planning on taking Indigenous Studies and Archaeology at either the University of Toronto, or the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Her interest in archaeology stems from a keen interest in history, and a field school in archaeology she was involved in last year near Pickering. Following four years of undergraduate work, Giguere plans on completing a Master’s Program, then perhaps eventually a PhD.

Giguere’s mother Kelly calls her daughter a very modest girl. Samantha has been involved in the community since Grade 3, lending her musical talents to talent show fundraisers playing her fiddle, as well as guitar and singing. Her musical talents also include playing piano. The young Giguere has shared her talents in the community by also performing for seniors.  She has been a member of the North Shore Community Choir since Grade 9, performing at various functions in the community.

The Giguere family and friends as well as the community of TFN are proud to see Samantha being selected for this prestigious scholarship.