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Jasmine George earns major scholarship

Best and brightest gets a leg up at USask.
Jasmine George of Bellegarde earned a $30,000 Best and Brightest Scholarship from the University of Saskatchewan recently.

BELLEGRADE, Sask. — Jasmine George has 30,000 reasons to smile these days. The Bellegarde-area teen recently learned she is the recipient of a Chancellor’s Scholarship through the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

“It was a huge surprise,” George recalled. “I went on a tour of the university a few weeks ago, and at the end of the tour, they pulled me aside and said, ‘We have something to give you.’ I thought at first that they were talking about a different scholarship that I had been offered.” 

George had also applied for a $3,000 entrance scholarship to the U of S and was sure this was the award to be announced. Much to her delight, that fateful cheque had an extra zero displayed in the total. 

“Then they pulled out a large cheque and I saw the amount — it was a huge surprise! I’m really thankful,” she said.

Applications for the Chancellor’s Scholarship are due in December of each year, and George applied for it last November. Based on academic achievement, only 12 such scholarships are awarded each year to graduates (or those graduating) from a Canadian high school. The $30,000 Best and Brightest Entrance scholarship is dispersed over four years in lumps of $7,500 contingent on maintaining at least an 80 per cent average during that time.

“The university has a lot of different science programs, so it will be interesting to explore those,” explained George of her chosen field. “Hopefully, I can eventually obtain a Bachelor of Science degree, which I could use to pursue graduate studies.”

Being involved in the community is important to George, who has been a longtime member of the Redvers Artemis Dance Club, a youth member of the Redvers Lions Club, part of the Redvers School Leadership Club, plus the author of a regular virtual newsletter for the school. On top of all these activities, George also maintains part-time employment at Redvers Pharmasave.

She’s even ventured into the world of municipal politics, becoming the first junior councillor with the Town of Redvers back in January 2023.

“It’s a very unique opportunity for students — it was really cool,” George said of her time thus far on council. “When I went to my first council meeting — just to see the procedures and the formalities of it all — you sort of learn how the town functions, which is something people never really think about until you see it. The administrative staff have been really welcoming. They taught me all about procedure, and they’ve asked me to help out with grants within the last few months and doing research for things like that.”

One major project George was privy to following firsthand was the massive upgrade to the town’s water treatment plant.

“When I first started, one of the projects they told me a lot about was the water treatment plant and all the work they’ve done for that,” she said. “I was shocked on the research and the grant applications, and the engineering.”

From those planning discussions came a huge announcement from the provincial and federal governments, committing some $4.5 million to the overall $6.1 million project in Redvers.

The Junior Councillor role is a rather new one, as Redvers Town Council approached the Redvers School in late 2022 about the possibility of a student joining the council team. 

“She is awesome, to put it in one word,” said Redvers CAO Trisha Pickard of George. “She’s really a complement to our council, and we were super thrilled that she was able to obtain a scholarship for that amount of money.”

In a reference letter for another scholarship, Pickard further extolled George’s abilities in her role on council.

“Myself, Council and the administration team are more than impressed with Jasmine putting herself out there to sit at a table where everyone is her senior and has much life experience,” Pickard noted. “It takes a lot of confidence, and desire to create change, to do that. In a very short window, she gained the respect of everyone around her and we have had a very positive experience bringing her to the table.”

The Grade 12 student is eagerly anticipating graduation, then making a beeline for Saskatoon to begin her post-secondary studies post haste.

“I’m very excited,” George said of beginning university. “We went and saw the university on our tour; I was shocked as to all the accommodations they have for students and all the different faculties. I’m very eager to explore it all!”