Sam Crocker travelled from one end of the county to the other to join 55 like-minded, similarly driven students looking to hone their talents at SHAD Memorial.
The Grade 11 student is from Dawson City, Yukon, with a population of less than 1,500 where opportunities like SHAD do not exist. The unique program, focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), takes place at Memorial and other host campuses over a four-week period every summer.
“My school is incredibly small,” said Mr. Crocker. “We do not have access to as many academic opportunities as other schools, so a program like SHAD means the world to me.”
Critical thinking and problem-solving
At SHAD, which was founded in 1980 to help youth reach their potential, students interact with renowned university faculty and visionary corporate leaders.
In a unique element of the program, the students are challenged to come up with an original solution to a societal problem they learn about in the first week. It teaches them about entrepreneurship and innovation and leaves the students seeing how they can make an immediate impact.
Mr. Crocker has been part of a team tasked with creating a water-going vessel built from purely recycled materials. While most teams built rafts, his group constructed a bike as wide as a car capable of going down a hill and into water.
Tim Jackson, president and CEO, is ecstatic the program has expanded to a record 13 host campuses across Canada.
“It is not only great for them as individuals; it’s great for the country as a whole.”
He says his number one goal is to make SHAD, as well as the bursaries which enable some students to attend, available and accessible to every deserving student across the country.
“I’ve seen the difference SHAD can make to help youth realize their potential,” he said. “It is not only great for them as individuals; it’s great for the country as a whole.”
‘Not just for myself’
Another SHAD Memorial participant, Chloe Brooks of Fredericton, N.B., says SHAD will help her become a role model in her community.
“I never expected this chance to participate in such an amazing experience,” Ms. Brooks said. “I am doing this not just for myself, but for other First Nations youth. I would like them to witness an average kid from their community make it as far as possible.”
Katie Smith, a Grade 11 student from Calgary, Alta., is also participating in SHAD Memorial this year.
Ms. Smith competed at two national championships in water polo, but after sustaining a concussion, she’s had some challenges.
“I think the unique opportunity to meet like-minded students from diverse backgrounds across the country is an experience unique to SHAD.”
The injury took a toll on her grades and left her with a lot of free time. So, she started a business knitting hats and selling them online. Ms. Smith says she hopes to learn how to be even more resourceful at SHAD.
“I think the unique opportunity to meet like-minded students from diverse backgrounds across the country is an experience unique to SHAD that will help me grow as a person and as a student.”
When the program ends on July 28, the students become part of an important network of close to 16,000 alumni, including 32 Rhodes Scholars and leaders in many fields.
One of the strong supporters of SHAD is the Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC).
In 2014 HMDC announced an investment of $2.85 million to create the Hibernia Project-SHAD Fund at Memorial University to encourage high school students to pursue studies in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Of the total investment, $450,000 is invested to support the cost of Newfoundland and Labrador students to attend SHAD programs throughout the country with 50 expected to go fully funded every year.