KieferTwo years ago, the lives of three St. Mary’s University students were significantly changed for the better when they were the first to receive the newly offered Paul and Carol Hill Scholarship. As one of the largest scholarships St. Mary’s offers, it can serve to considerably reduce the financial burden of post-secondary education. It did just that for Bachelor of Education students, Lindsay Oliphant, Kiefer Olson and Eva Mably.

“The Paul and Carol Hill scholarship helped me in my time at St. Mary’s in ways that I cannot even describe,” said Kiefer. “Had it not been for the scholarship, I would not have been able to pursue my Bachelor of Education degree.”

The Paul and Carol Hill Scholarship was established in 2013 and is awarded to students who aspire to become teachers in a Catholic School. Lindsay, Kiefer and Eva were the first students to receive the scholarship that year. Each received $16,000 to use over the two years of the Bachelor of Education program. During their time in the program, they had to maintain a full course load, demonstrate involvement in volunteer activities with children or youth, and maintain a superior grade point average.

LindsayThe financial assistance the scholarship offered was invaluable to Lindsay who said, “During my time in the program, the scholarship was a wonderful help financially. I was able to finish school debt free.”

For Eva, receiving the scholarship meant she was able to continue her volunteer work in the community. “The scholarship allowed me to continue volunteering in my church and community because I didn’t have to worry about working so much,” said Eva. “I continued to explore how to live out my faith in a practical and authentic way.”

It wasn’t just the scholarships that attracted these students to St. Mary’s Bachelor of Education program. “One of the biggest deciding factors [to attend St. Mary’s] was the cohort structure of the program” said Kiefer. “At St. Mary’s, the cohort structure, as well as the small class sizes, allow you to make real connections with the rest the people on your program. From members of our cohort to the professors, support staff and volunteers, everyone makes it such a positive place to be.”

EvaStudents in the Bachelor of Education program complete twenty-four weeks of practicum. For Lindsay, her practicum placements were the highlight of the program. “I enjoyed learning and growing in the schools I was placed at,” said Lindsay. “I felt each placement was the perfect environment to help me and challenge me to be the teacher I want to be.”

On June 12, 2015, Lindsay, Kiefer and Eva will graduate from the program at the university’s convocation held at St. Mary’s Cathedral. This is a significant milestone for both the students and the scholarship. Heading into the final stage of his time in the program, Kiefer recognizes the important role the scholarship played in his time here. “The scholarship helped me to realize a dream that otherwise would not have been possible,” said Kiefer. “It is my hope that I can use this opportunity I was given to become the best teacher possible, and perhaps lead other people to consider St. Mary’s as a place to pursue their own education in the future.”

The two-year, after degree Bachelor of Education program at St. Mary’s University is designed to prepare teachers to teach at the primary and elementary levels (K-6) in Alberta schools. Application for Fall 2015 are still open. If you’re interested in becoming a teacher,apply today!