Red Deer College student Cole Visser should be able to avoid the student debt blues after picking up a major scholarship honouring a great Canadian.
Visser is one of three Albertan — and 24 Canadian — students to receive the 2014 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.
The prize gives the 19-year-old at least four years of $7,000 in annual tuition support.
A Lindsay Thurber High School alum, Visser just finished his first year working towards a dual degree in physical education and education at RDC. He applied for the prestigious award last year as a Grade 12 student and thought he would again in 2014 after falling just short before.
The Terry Fox award is open to graduating high schoolers and those currently in post-secondary who get involved in voluntary humanitarian work.
Visser has no problem meeting those criteria. He has coached minor hockey teams and volunteered at the Red Deer Regional Hospital and with the Red Deer Public School District.
He was elected as student body president while at Thurber and has starred in different athletic arenas.
“Cole truly embodies the spirit of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award and has given back to his school and his community in such a variety of ways that he should be recognized for his achievement. He is compassionate and empathetic and truly believes that no one should have barriers to their dreams and pursuits,” said Eastview Middle School vice-principal and guidance counsellor Lori Irvine.
Visser wants to teach as well. For a college group project, he organized a visit to Glendale Middle School where he and his classmates sought to set children on the right path.
“We wanted to set a good example and give, more or less, an outlook on what a healthy lifestyle is and where you want to go down the road with your life,” said Visser.
He expects to transfer to the University of Alberta after the next school year to continue his degree and he said he might pursue a master’s degree afterwards.
The Terry Fox scholarship is eligible for up to seven years if a student chooses to study that long.