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News Release: Westwood Student Finalist for $100,000 Loran Scholarship

(Fort McMurray, AB - January 15, 2018) Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD) congratulates Dhruv Patel, Westwood Community High School student, who has been named a finalist for the prestigious $100,000 Loran Scholarship, Canada’s largest four-year undergraduate award.

This year over 5,000 students applied for the Loran Award, and only 88 finalists are heading to national selections, which will take place in Toronto on February 2 and 3, 2018. Only 34 applicants will be selected, and will receive the coveted $100,000 award over four years, including “mentorship, funding for summer internships, a weeklong orientation expedition, annual retreats and other scholar gatherings.”

Leadership, character, and service are the selection criteria for the scholarship, embodied by Dhruv, 17, who is a well-known grade 12 student at Westwood. His leadership in coding, and computer science endeavours have helped Westwood Coders, a student organization flourish. He is also the co-president of YouthComputing, a social profit group he co-founded with fellow Westwood students to champion coding/computer science in FMPSD schools, and in the region.

Dhruv is also on the Mayor’s Advisory Council for Youth (MACOY), and is working on a major IT project for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. He is also an accomplished badminton player, and coach, who just played Mayor Don Scott in a friendly match.

“While Dhruv has attended Westwood, he has been involved in a wide range of programming options, which have helped him reach his leadership potential and show his true community spirited character,” notes Cynthia Shelley, Principal, Westwood Community High School.

“He has been involved in our Advanced Placement Program for all three years of high school. He has taken Robotics and Computer Science courses inclusive of: Coding, Virtual Reality, Digital Design, Phone apps, and more. Dhruv has found a way to serve his community with the skills he has attained at Westwood through his work with MACOY. We are so very excited for Dhruv and wish him all the best in his path to becoming a Loran Scholar, and potentially a recipient of a $100,000 scholarship.”

Christine Tulk, Westwood Counselor, nominated Dhruv. And, dubs him a “wonderful asset for our school community.”

“Dhruv is an amazing young man. Not only is he outstanding academically, but he is a strong leader in our computer science program at Westwood. He has amassed countless hours volunteering to promote coding in the younger grades and has hosted a variety of ​events to introduce coding to the community. Dhruv is also active in the community with MACOY, providing a voice for local youth. He was also part of an IT internship this summer within the community. At school, Dhruv is one of our math peer tutors; and part of our math leadership program. He has been active in science fairs and taken AP classes throughout his time at Westwood. His character, leadership and service to our school and region are evident in all he does. We are very proud of Dhruv's accomplishments,” Tulk enthused.

For Dhruv,  who is heading to Toronto for the interviews, the honour is meaningful for many reasons.

“Being a finalist means a lot of things. First there are the facts, being selected as one of the top 88 students across Canada out of a pool of over 5000 applicants. But aside from that, it means the time I spend trying to do diverse activities is paying off, as well as the time my mentors, coaches, and teachers spend on me. This scholarship is about character as well as a commitment to service and leadership, so to be a finalist for something of such high value is truly an honour where I get to represent Westwood, FMPSD, and Fort McMurray,” shared Dhruv, who plans to pursue a Mechatronics Engineering (integration of computer, mechanical, electrical, and system design) degree at the University of Waterloo and explore the fields of autonomous automation and social innovation. 

Doug Nicholls, Superintendent, FMPSD, congratulated Dhruv on this accomplishment.

“Dhruv is clearly an amazing student and a top ambassador for the Fort McMurray Public School District and our community. Our District wishes him the best through the final part of the application process but, we know that regardless of the outcome,  Dhruv will be a successful leader in whatever he pursues in the future.”

Congratulations Dhruv.

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Manager

Fort McMurray Public School District

Cell: 780-880-7666

Kiran.malikkhan@fmpsd.ab.ca