SPRINGDALE, N.L. — Jessica Jacobs heard the rumblings through the halls of her high school days, the complaints of peers about the daily grind of education and the desire to get away, but she never saw it that way.
The impending graduate of Indian River High loved her time at the Springdale school, cherishing her friends and teachers and the opportunities she was afforded during this stage of her life.
“For me, I have always loved going to school here in Springdale,” Jessica said. “It is not too big, so you get a few more opportunities to become more involved.”
As she prepares to embark on the next chapter of her life, a student at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook in September, there is one major pressure off her shoulders. Jessica is a recipient of the Warren and Catherine Ball Memorial Entrance Scholarship valued at $7,500 annually for up to four years.
“When I opened the envelope and saw what it was, it was a huge shock and so much excitement,” she said. “The cost of post-secondary these days is not the cheapest, so it is a huge burden that can be taken off from the years of university and the cost of that.”
Jessica laughs at the memory of opening the envelope announcing she was the recipient of the $30,000 scholarship. She had applied to the Dr. Leslie Harris Memorial University Alumni Association Scholarship. It is valued at a total of $16,000 — $4,000 annually for up to four years — so she was much happier to receive the larger of the scholarships, even if it remains a bit of a mystery as to how she was awarded it.
“The assumption we made was that it was fast-tracked from (her other application) and chosen from there,” she said. “It was better than the other one I applied for.”
This Warren and Catherine Ball Memorial Entrance Scholarship was established in 2005 by a generous donation from the estate of Dr. and Mrs. Ball. The endowment provides scholarships at the value of $7,500 per annum for up to four years of study to students entering Memorial University of Newfoundland for the first time.
The number of the annual scholarships are based on a portion of the annual income, as per the Awards Program Spending Policy. The scholarship is awarded by the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Scholarships and Financial Aid on the basis of scholarship standing.
Jessica has not decided what field of study specifically she will pursue, but has been leaning toward pharmacy as an eventual destination.
“In school, I have always been interested in the sciences and math, and I know pharmacy has a lot to do with chemistry,” she said. “I think it would be very interesting.”
She will enroll in general studies courses at Grenfell this fall. She says it is an honour to be able to pursue an education at a university in her home province.
“I have always heard good things about it,” she said. “Not having to go away for the program you are looking into is really good too.”
Jessica has always strived for and achieved excellence in academics, but she was also a multisport star athlete —having received the school’s Athlete of the Year in her final two years at Indian River High — and an active member of the school community. She volunteers for the school’s leadership and music programs and is a member of the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) committee.
“It is not just school, but I think in everything I do I give 100 per cent effort,” she said. “Being the best isn’t the most important part, but if you give it your best shot that is all you can do and that will reward you. No matter how good it is, if it is your best than it is the best you can do.”
Acquiring the scholarship is a sense of a lot of hard work paying off for the young woman. Jessica said she has not spent a lot of time thinking about the journey ahead, as she was focused on writing her final exams and completing her high school education.
“I think I am more of a person who takes it as it comes and see how it goes from there,” she said.