Robin Grant | Telegraph-Journal
January 26, 2022
A Rothesay Netherwood School student is one of 90 cross-Canada finalists competing for a $100,000 university scholarship for the Loran Foundation this year.
Grade 12 student Cole Gauthier has been named a finalist for the 2022 Loran Award, one of Canada’s most prestigious post-secondary education prizes.
Valued at $100,000 over four years, Loran scholars not only receive up to $10,000 in a tuition waiver per year from one of the 25 partner universities, but they also receive a $10,000 living stipend per year. On top of that they also get one-on-one mentorship, up to $14,000 in funding for tri-sectoral summer work experiences and a week-long orientation expedition with Outward Bound.
In the fall, more than 5,000 students from over 1,400 schools applied for the 2022 Loran Award. The top six per cent were invited to participate in online semi-final interviews held throughout November and December. From there, the list was whittled down to 90 finalists.
The scholarship looks for demonstrated perseverance when faced with adversity, kindness, a sense of curiosity, and sparks of leadership potential. Gauthier said the autism and neurodiversity acceptance movement he launched is just one thing he’s done that demonstrates his leadership chops.
As someone who was diagnosed with autism at a young age, Gauthier said he knows what it’s like to feel ashamed and not advocate for yourself.
Part of the movement involves spreading more positivity and boosting the self-esteem of young people with autism, he said.
“A lot of people with autism are ashamed and ashamed to speak up and ask for accommodation or try and reach a mutual understanding with other people,” he said. “I’ve tried to expand that to other areas of neurodiversity as well, also trying to recruit people who are affected with ADHD or [obsessive-compulsive disorder], so they can help and make the movement bigger.”
The 18-year-old was also recently named the New Brunswick High School Debate Champion, with his partner, RNS Grade 10 student Bex Finnegan, and he was awarded top individual speaker in a recent provincial championship. He also runs a theatre tech group at the school and is a drummer in a school rock band.
“It’s always worth applying because I think a lot of people might have the misconception that if you haven’t participated in big national events and if you don’t have a 95 average, you couldn’t apply for an award like this,” Gauthier said. “But Loran isn’t like that. They’re looking at your character, so if you’re still committed to service in your community, for example, Loran cares about that, too.”
The head of school Paul McLellan said Gauthier has grown and developed in ways that few students get to experience in his seven years at Rothesay Netherwood School.
“Cole’s character, courage and creativity have combined in ways that will leave an indelible mark on our community,” he said. “We are all rooting for Cole to win a prestigious Loran Award, but regardless of the outcome he will leave an impressive legacy at RNS.”
Two other New Brunswick high school students, Eliot Bergeron and Alice Park at École Sainte-Anne in Fredericton, are also Loran finalists.