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Kingston, Ont. student wins prestigious award

Click to play video: 'Grade 12 Kingston student continues to rack-up honours, the latest the prestigious Loran Award.' Grade 12 Kingston student continues to rack-up honours, the latest the prestigious Loran Award.
WATCH: A Grade 12 student at Leahurst College in Kingston, Ont., is in some pretty elite company. – Apr 18, 2022

A Grade 12 student at the private Leahurst College in Kingston Ont., is in some pretty elite company.

Olivia O’Driscoll is the recipient of the prestigious Loran Award. It provides $100,000 for four years of undergraduate study.

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Just days removed from a provincial robotics championship, where her team qualified for the worlds, Olivia O’Driscoll has returned to a lab to troubleshoot, fine tune and try to improve the shooter on her robot. But that’s not all that’s on her mind, having been named a 2022 Loran scholar.

“When I was in the final interviews, there were 90 finalists and they were all such amazing people,” says O’Driscoll. “Just to be in the same company as them was a huge honour to me, and to be named a scholar, well that was just incredible.”

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O’Driscoll was one of 35 winners across the country, and that’s out of more than 5,000 applicants.

Click to play video: 'Kingston high school students finalists in global robotics competition' Kingston high school students finalists in global robotics competition
Kingston high school students finalists in global robotics competition – Jun 18, 2021

“The award values a combination academics, community involvement and leadership in the community,” says Dr. Robert Chatelain, a teacher at Leahurst College.

Dr. Chatelain should know, since he won a similar award a number of years ago.

“I wasn’t surprised, I’ve taught a lot of students,” says Dr. Chatelain. “I’ve seen something special in Olivia from the very beginning.”

“I’ve been teaching for 32 years now, and I’ve taught a lot of remarkable individuals, but I would have to say that Olivia really ranks at the top of that long list,” adds Elizabeth Turcke, Head of Leahurst College.

“She’s warm. She’s kind, she brings a smile and positive energy with her every single day. She’s brilliant, creative and giving.”

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This 17-year-old, who has founded a number of robotics clubs in town, must now decide on her higher education.

Read more: ‘Good thing’: Kingston, Ont. students back to school for in-person learning

“The appeal for me is being able to work on problems that don’t already have solutions,” says O’Driscoll.

“In school there are answers in the back of the book, but here, there are so many different ways to approach the problems and being able to explore those is really exciting for me.”

O’Driscoll has a half dozen of elite universities on a shortlist, including Queen’s University, but a final decision is still a few weeks away.

She says she would like to be a software engineer.

O’Driscoll is also a Queen’s Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient.

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