Recent Canora graduate awarded UBC scholarship

Sabrina Moshenko, daughter of Jaime and Curtis Brock, is a 2019 graduate of Canora Composite School. Beginning in fall, she will be going to school at UBC (University of British Columbia), in Vancouver, after being the recipient of the Centennial Leaders Entrance Award, a full ride scholarship.

“It’s valued at approximately $20,000 a year and is renewable up to seven years or until the completion of my degree, whichever comes sooner,” said Moshenko. “This covers my yearly tuition, mandatory student fees, housing, my meal plan, and my books. Essentially the goal is to keep me fully covered during my time at UBC.”

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She said the day she found out about receiving the scholarship is clearly etched in her mind. It happened on March 1, about two weeks after she was accepted into UBC.

“I missed the first phone call from my lovely enrolment advisor who was trying to inform me about the scholarship, but when I called her back and she was able to give me the exciting news, I almost started crying on the phone!” recalled Moshenko. “The amount of instant relief I felt was like having a tonne of bricks taken off my chest and, to be completely honest, it still hasn’t fully hit me yet. Regardless, my parents are incredibly proud of me and it’s amazing having my dream of attending UBC become a reality now.”

Through the application process, Moshenko said she learned that the point of the scholarship is to support academically qualified students who want to attend UBC, but couldn’t do so without a considerable amount of financial aid. In her situation, the scholarship relieved a great deal of financial uncertainty.

“From the beginning, the entirety of my post-secondary education was left up to me to fund, whether this is through student loans, or in my case, scholarships,” she said. “While I know without a doubt that my parents want to support me, our finances limit what ways they can do this. I emphasized this point on my application.”

Moshenko said grades have always been very important to her throughout high school. But she believes this was only one of the attributes which help her earn the scholarship.

“I spent a good portion of my high school years working at Gateway Co-op and my spare time doing homework and studying,” she said. “As a result, I did finish high school with relatively high grades. My dedication to my communities, whether it be the community of Canora, the LGBTQ+ community, or the Indigenous community, is something that I also mentioned in my application as I feel it reflected what I value as an individual outside of my academics.”

Moshenko said UBC is currently ranked as one of the top three universities in Canada, and within the top 20 in the world. It has about 65,000 students enrolled and the campus is roughly the size of Canora.

“Walking through the campus it’s clear to see that the university has lent its support to minorities and wants to highlight them,” she said. “One can see pride flags and a number of indigenous works and pieces around the campus. In fact, it was UBC’s unwavering dedication to indigenous individuals that was a key decision in me applying there.”

With the scholarship, Moshenko plans to utilize her first year at UBC to determine what she wants to pursue in subsequent years.

“I am currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts program but my first year includes some sciences and math so as to allow myself the option to transfer to the faculty of science if I ultimately decide to pursue that path,” she explained. “I can’t even put into words how excited I am to be going to UBC and having the opportunity to study in such a beautiful city. In April, I had the amazing opportunity to visit UBC and tour the campus. The couple of days I spent there really got me excited for the fall and the cultural diversity found on campus is a refreshing change of pace. I’ve always known I wanted to go to university so I’m very eager to start this next chapter of my life. I’m fully aware that I have many new challenges ahead, but I hope my eagerness and dedication help me persevere.”

Even though UBC was her first choice, Moshenko also applied to the University of Calgary and the University of Saskatchewan, and was accepted into all three.

“I applied to U of S because, financially, it was the most economical decision for me to make prior to receiving my scholarship,” she said. “Calgary was a happy middle ground that enabled me to still be close enough to Canora to keep my travel costs down, while also giving me the independence and adventure that I was seeking by going to UBC. Realistically, were it not for my award I would have been attending U of S in the fall.”

The Moshenko family initially moved from Regina to Canora in October 2014 when Sabrina was 13.

“To be honest, when I first moved to Canora I was quite upset about the whole situation,” she remembered. “However, I am now grateful to have spent the last five years of my life here because it has taught me valuable lessons that I wouldn’t have been able to learn in the comfort of my city environment of Regina. I learned patience and how to listen and acknowledge those who don’t see eye-to-eye with me. I’ll be the first to admit that I am a stubborn person but moving to Canora has enabled me to allow my views to be challenged and gain the ability to empathize with those who think differently than me. On a more fun note, I am so happy to have made many genuine and wonderful friends here in Canora and I will cherish my memories with them all very dearly.”

Moshenko said she’s been wanting to get out of Saskatchewan for most of her high school years, but now that it’s finally a reality, she admits to having mixed feelings.

“In the past few years, I’ve been able to travel out of province on a few occasions and even go overseas to visit Italy and Spain. While all of those things were exciting and new, they helped me grow a new appreciation for Saskatchewan and the beauty we have here that I ignored in my rush to leave,” she acknowledged. “However, I miss living in the city and being surrounded by the accepting mindsets that naturally come from such a diverse community. While I love Canora and the people’s commitment to tradition, as a racial minority and a member of the LGBTQ+ community, it can be stifling at times as my views don’t always align with those of my peers. Even though I am looking forward to moving on to this new chapter, the prairies will always be my home.”

Moshenko plans to leave for Vancouver on August 21.

She encourages students younger than herself to “enjoy being a kid,” but also to look for projects and causes outside of school that they can really believe in and support, which often impresses universities.

“I denied myself many of the joys that come from being a teenager in favour of studying and working. While I never want to encourage anyone to ignore their academics, I want kids to know that my scholarship wasn’t solely based on the numbers on my transcript,” said Moshenko. “It took into consideration what I did outside of the school and my commitment to others. The numbers on the paper can only say so much about you, but your actions can tell your whole story.

“Be smart and stay on top of your homework and participate in class, but allow yourself some time to be a young teenager and make some stupid decisions. Give back to your community in ways that are important to you. Don’t do something just because you think it will look good on an application. In the end, you’re not doing that thing any justice. When speaking with my enrolment advisor she told me that many kids come to her with a list a mile long of achievements they did just because it looked good, but UBC and most other universities don’t want a robot or someone who is doing things for self-gain. Find what you value and give it 100 per cent because, in the end, that is a better indicator of who you are.”