Jessica Telizyn continues to pile up her academic accolades.
The North Peace Secondary student has been named a Loran Scholar, a prestigious distinction that comes with a four-year $100,000 scholarship.
The scholarship, established in 1991, is awarded for character, commitment to service in the community, and leadership potential. Telizyn is one of 34 Canadian students to be named a scholar this year, out of more than 5,000 applications.
“It is such an incredible opportunity,” Telizyn said Wednesday. “The odds are so minute that it’s mind boggling to think that I’d be one of the 34, coming from Fort St. John.”
Mind boggling but well deserving nevertheless.
Telizyn has amassed an impressive CV of community volunteerism and character building, stretching back to her middle school days at Dr. Kearney. There, she launched a social justice club, raising funds to help build schools in impoverished countries and collecting food to support the women’s centre, among other initiatives for local seniors and the school's library.
At North Peace Secondary, she helped start the Interact Club to continue that work, took part in a trade mission to China, has participated in youth forums across Canada, and launched a number of agri-tech startups to reduce food waste.
If getting all that done in between studies isn’t impressive enough, Telizyn teaches Irish dance, swimming, and speed skating to the next generation of athletes, too.
“I’ve always known from young age that academics were super important, and I believe being involved in the community is super important,” she said.
Exposing peers to opportunities beyond Fort St. John has been important, Telizyn added, noting she has helped them write applications to the SHAD leadership program at the University of New Brunswick, which she has taken part in.
“That’s been a big part of what I do, teaching kids to do stuff, whether that’s sports or helping them at school, trying to challenge them and bring them up with me,” she said.
“I have to break the ice, but once the ice is broken, ships should sail through.”
Telizyn has finished her high school studies, and will graduate later this year. Her scholarship includes annual stipends, tuition waivers from a partner university, mentorship, summer internship funding as well as annual retreats and forums.
She plans to go to the University of Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and double major in neuroscience and business before going to medical school to become a surgeon.
Combining those studies will give her ability to understand the science, business, and law of what she’s creating and investing in, Telizyn said, adding she plans to return to work in northern Canada.
“I do want to go serve those underserved communities like Fort St. John, where there are not a lot of surgeons, or even further north,” she said.
Telizyn is North Peace Secondary's first-ever Loran Scholar, though a previous student was named a finalist in 2010, according to the Loran Scholars Foundation.
The news has the school ecstatic, Principal Randy Pauls said.
“She’s such an awesome kid. She is busy, busy, busy,” he said.
“She’s got an incredibly hectic schedule, but she handles it well. She’s driven, she’s smart, she’s athletic. We’re so happy for her.
"There couldn’t be a more a deserving student.”