Two Toronto District School Board (TDSB) students are recipients of this year’s Loran Award, one of the most prestigious scholarships in the country. Georgia Koep-Freifeld from Etobicoke School of the Arts, and Elektra Dakogiannis from Monarch Park Collegiate are among a select group of 34 students chosen from 5023 applicants across Canada.
Founded in 1988, the Loran Scholars Foundation, is a national charity that works in partnership with universities, donors and volunteers to invest in young Canadians who demonstrate character, commitment to service and leadership potential. Loran highlights on its web site that “to find the next generation of leaders for Canada, we look beyond the transcript and find the promise of character: integrity, courage, compassion, determination and a high level of personal autonomy.”
The award is valued at up to $100,000 over four years at one of 25 partner universities. It includes a $10,000 annual stipend and matching tuition waiver, along with access to a comprehensive enrichment program that includes mentorship, summer internships, annual retreats and forums to support students.
ESA teacher Laura Pong said that Georgia exemplifies the three prongs of the Loran award: character, service, and leadership in the passion for all the work that she does both in the community and at school. “She is involved in the STEM club, dance night, Global Ideas Institute Program, student council, and she coordinated the Inside Ride.” ESA’s Inside Ride event is an indoor cycling challenge that raised more than $10,000 in support of children and their families living with and beyond childhood cancer. Georgia also volunteers at Holland Bloorview Hospital, which focuses on improving the lives of kids with disabilities.
The senior with a love for dance said she hasn’t yet made a final decision on a university for next year but is leaning toward the sciences, with a particular interest in neuroscience or medical science. “The Loran Scholarship not only provides me with the financial means for being successful in university but also provides a strong network of contacts and support which will allow me to continue to make a difference in my community,” she said.
Monarch Park Principal Cynthia Abernethy said that Elektra Dakogiannis is a very special young woman who is highly-deserving of this recognition. “She is passionate about many different pursuits,” said Abernethy. “She is kind and well-respected by her peers and teachers alike. We are so very happy for her – the Loran Scholars Foundation could not have chosen a better recipient.”
Elektra is also interested in the sciences as a post-secondary area of study and is considering UBC or using the French-language skills she honed in Monarch Park’s IB program to study at Montreal’s McGill University. Passionate about helping others and environmental issues, she is president of the environmental club, vice-president of the social justice club, a student mentor, a tutor to new Canadians, and a member of her Member of Parliament’s youth council. Elektra is anxious to continue helping others while exploring Loran’s many opportunities for mentorship, internships and networking. “I do really want to emphasize how wonderful of a community and family Loran seems to be, which I am really looking forward to.”