Sunday, April 20, 2014

FFHS travel scholarship accepting applications

Applications for Fort Frances High School’s Humanitarian Trip Scholarship are now available and Dexter Fichuk, who spearheaded the initiative, is hoping to receive some strong submissions.
“It’s about being able to make a difference and creating change locally and globally,” said the 18-year-old, a former Fort Frances resident who currently attends Trent University in Peterborough.

He explained the scholarship is designed to give one Fort High student the opportunity to travel on a “Me to We” (Free the Children) trip to a developing country to see the importance of education, clean water, alternative income, and agricultural projects.
Fichuk requested funding from local businesses and the Rainy River District School Board, and also organized fundraisers in order to garner up enough funds to help pay for more than half of the cost of an international summer trip.
He wants the successful candidate to hold his or her own fundraisers, and raise the rest of the funds in order to earn the opportunity.
Having travelled to both Ecuador and Kenya through “Free the Children” organization, Fichuk wants to give back to the community.
“They were truly amazing opportunities for me that changed my life and I think others should be given the same opportunity,” he reasoned.
Fichuk admitted he struggled to pay for the trip to Ecuador and was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to fund the trip to Kenya last year.
“Money shouldn’t be a barrier for anyone,” he stressed.
He noted Fort High students in Grade 9-11 are eligible to apply for the scholarship.
The application includes a written or creative piece which explains why they feel they deserve to go.
Submissions should be returned in January (an exact date has not been set). Then a committee, which includes members from the school board, will determine the successful candidate.
“The student must demonstrate involvement and commitment to their school and/or community, and must prove they will bring the most back to the community from their experience abroad,” Fichuk explained, adding there will be no preference given to students by grade.
“Each student will be judged fairly by how much they have contributed,” he added.
“The scholarship recipient will have the most potential, passion, and skills to speak about their experiences.”
Fichuk said when the selected student returns from the trip, he or she will be expected to speak at elementary schools in the district in order to inspire more youth to get involved.
He indicated a few applications already have been received—and expects more to come.
Fichuk hopes the scholarship is something that will be able to continue beyond this year.
“I’d like it to continue,” he remarked. “I’d like to have more than enough [money] this year so that there is some for next year.
“But it will probably depend on how well it goes this year,” he admitted. “If it goes well, I hope the businesses will want to give more next year.
“It’s really an investment for the community,” Fichuk reasoned. “I want people to be aware of this opportunity.
“Apply now so you can be the change.”
Fichuk, meanwhile, is continuing with his passion of making a change in the life of others.
After having attended a “We Day” in the area recently, he and friend, Scott Pharand, were inspired to start a significant initiative, which they’ve called “Project 10K.”
They listened to a man talk about raising $10,000 in three months.
“And we thought we could probably do that in one day if we really tried,” Fichuk said.
“We’ve been getting incredible support here.”
“Project 10K,” which can be found on Facebook, is gaining momentum across the Trent campus, as well as around Peterborough and maybe even all of Ontario.
The goal is to raise $10,000 in one day to build a school in a developing nation and they’ll be taking on the challenge Jan. 24.
To reach this goal, they will be having events set up on campus and in the Peterborough area, such as a bottle drive, other winter-themed events, T-shirt sales (with a unique design), and hosting an “open mic” night for high school students.
Additionally, Fichuk’s sister, Maisie, a Grade 12 student who acts as the “Me to We” co-ordinator at Fort High, will be planning some events here for that day.
“We received a message from a girl in Waterloo who wants to plan something for that day,” Fichuk added.
They also will be having an online fundraising page launched that day which people will be able to donate through.
It likely will be a separate page off the “Free the Children” website.
“I’m really excited,” Fichuk enthused.
“Lots of projects take a long time, like full-year initiatives, so I think it will be good to try to reach this huge goal in one day.”
“I’ve never done anything this big before, so it’s a exciting and a little scary at the same time,” admitted Pharand.
But they are not going to stop that from trying to reach their goal.
“We’re not going to fall short but no matter what, we have made a change,” Fichuk reasoned.
“We’ll be happy with however much we raise.
“Help us make our goal a reality,” he added.

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