Prytula Charpentier Scholarships expanding at École St Mary High School

Daily Herald File Photo A group of 21 Japanese students will be visiting Ecole St. Mary High School in March and host families are needed.

The Prytula Charpentier Scholarships have provided the funding to recognize one male and one female student with the Alex Prytula Scholarships at École St Mary High School for over a decade.

Those awards will be expanded for the next St. Mary graduation ceremony. The board approved new scholarships recognizing student efforts in French and music. They also plan to start fundraising for a new First Nations Scholarship named after former principal Mark Phaneuf.

“It was a significant announcement for sure,” education director Lorel Trumier said. “We have always been very well supported by the Prytula Charpentier awards.”

Alex Prytula is a former principal of St. Mary High School and scholarships under this banner are provided in over a dozen countries

Charpentier award representatives recently toured St. Mary High School to meet with the administration team and discuss opportunities to support the students.

The two confirmed scholarships are for $2,000 each and are called the Martha Prytula École St Mary High School University Entrance Scholarship and the Charpentier École St Mary High School University French Scholarship. Both scholarships cover studying the language or field as well as teaching in the language or field.

The school awards committee is still seeking matching funding for the 10 new $2,000 scholarships titled the Mark Phaneuf First Nations, Metis and Inuit Scholarships. The first $1,000 comes from the Prytual Charpentier Scholarships and they are seeking donors to match the $1,000 on up to 10 scholarships.

“Really it is to Mark (Phaneuf), Dwayne (Gareau) and Jason’s (Bourdan) efforts that they were able to support further announcements on scholarships and awards,” Trumier said. “That is going to be great for us to get those pieces out to students. Now the work comes where we need to do some matching opportunities and our awards committee is working on that now.

The awards expansion means $56,000 worth of new scholarships will be available for students.

Phaneuf had the honour of announcing his own scholarship to the board during Monday’s meeting. He was honoured by the scholarship fund’s recognition.

“(It was) very gracious on their part,” Phaneuf said during the meeting. “I am pretty humbled, obviously, for the awards named after myself. The Charpentiers are very much into French and Prytula is very much into music, so that’s where that goes in.”

Phaneuf told trustees that the representatives of the scholarships were blown away by the graduation rates for FNMI students in the division, and that helped influence their decision to provide more scholarships.

“The fact (is) that we are so much higher than the rest of the province, on average, and our kids are doing so well that they have added these scholarships,” he said. “The awards committee and the administration at St. Mary are actively seeking out people to match the dollars and we are hoping obviously to be able to do so.”

The agreement will renew the scholarships every four years and the total value is $72,000 over the next four years.

“They are very gracious people,” Phaneuf said. “They came and met with us because they haven’t been here due to COVID for a few years They just were so grateful for the experiences they had at St. Mary and so grateful for what we are doing for our students in our school division at this point.”

The awards are decided by a submission process and will go through the awards committee. The board congratulated Phaneuf on having awards named for him after his presentation.

In other scholarship matters on Monday evening the board also approved two $1,500 Scholarships that they present annually at École St Mary High School: the John M. Cuelenaare Scholarship and the École St Mary High School Scholarship.

“We have made that commitment again so we are looking forward to providing it to some deserving students in our system,” Trumier said.

Along with the scholarships, the Board Chair or a designate will be present at the graduation ceremonies on June 26.