Kamloops student heading to Toronto for shot at $100,000 Loran scholarship | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops student heading to Toronto for shot at $100,000 Loran scholarship

Matthew Ciardullo is one of the 88 finalists for the Loran Award.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Matthew Ciardullo
January 28, 2020 - 12:45 PM

A Kamloops high school student is up for one of the most prestigious awards offered to young Canadians entering post-secondary education.

The Loran Award is given to students who show integrity, courage, compassion and who have a plan for making a positive change in the world. This year, almost 5,200 students were reviewed for the award, and 88 have been chosen as finalists.

NorKam student Matthew Ciardullo is one of the finalists for the award, and will soon travel to Toronto to meet with Loran judges and undergo the interview process, to see if he will be one of the lucky 36 to receive the award valued at $100,000.

Ciardullo takes off to Toronto on Thursday, Jan. 30, and will be travelling with 14 other B.C. finalists, including students from Summerland, Lillooet, Vancouver and Victoria. News of his trip comes as a bit of a surprise to him, as he was initially told he wouldn’t be moving forward.

“I was told, ‘Congrats, you won’t be moving on but we're going to give you a provincial $2,000 award,’ and I was like, ‘Oh yeah, thats great!’ Even being recognized by them was amazing,” Ciardullo says.

Although he was happy to be recognized, he was a little “bummed out” that he wouldn’t be meeting other youth from across the country who work to make a difference. A few weeks later, he got another call.

“Then, I get a call from Loran saying that there’s a spot at nationals if I want it. I thought, ‘Am I taking it from someone?’ But she said, ‘No, it’s for you and it’s yours if you want it,’” Ciardullo says. “The way it worked out was better than just getting it because I was OK with not getting it, I rationalized it. So moving on now, I’ve got nothing to lose.”

The fact that Ciardullo was selected for nationals may come as no surprise those who know him.

The 17-year-old is one of the founding members of the Kiwanis Key Club at NorKam, a member of his school’s Saints Club, and he’s the executive of Interact, a program run through the Rotary Club.

Through all of those clubs, he focuses on volunteering and organizing projects to make a positive impact on the local and global community.

After spending two years on the RCMP Youth Advisory Committee in Kamloops, he has also been accepted as one of the national members, working with youth across the country to provide input on RCMP practices and programs. These involvements are just the beginning of the long list of accomplishments and volunteer efforts Ciardullo has been working on for over four years.

Although much of his work has been done locally, he has fundraised for global causes and plans to work in areas around the world. One such project, a vow of silence to recognize the victims of the sex trade, landed him a spot on stage at WE Day in Vancouver.

“I try to be really global-minded and I feel like my inspiration to do good comes from people. That’s not just my community, but others. My community inspires me, but to make a difference in the world, I need to get out it into it,” Ciardullo says.

As for his post-secondary program of choice, Ciardullo is still figuring it out. He has been applying for programs such as environmental and resource studies, business administration and is also considering getting a bachelor of arts honours.

“I don't have a set career path that I’ve wanted to do forever… it has always been up in the air for me, what I want to do. I stopped worrying about what my career will be, and I don’t need to always stress about this because I can make a difference in so many different fields,” Ciardullo says. “In the grand scheme of things, I don’t want to change lives in a specific way… I want to, in every aspect of life, be trying to encourage others, inspiring others.”

If Ciardullo is chosen as a Loran recipient, he will be able to apply to study at one of the 25 partner schools in the country. The value of the award comes from waived tuition, as well as an annual $10,000 stipend in addition to other perks.

Ciardullo will visit various universities when in Ontario, and says that schools like Western University, Waterloo, and the University of Victoria are some of his top choices. He has already been accepted to one of his original top choices, Trent University in Ontario, but says as it is not a Loran partner school, he’s not sure if he’ll go.

Regardless, if he gets the $100,000 scholarship or not, he will follow his plans to create a more positive future.

“I still know that whether I get this scholarship or not, I’m going to make my dreams a reality no matter what. I’ve got big plans for my life and I know I want to go to university and I’m going to make it happen no matter what.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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