On Their Way

Jayden McKoy and Ella Thomson

They’re smart, they’re strong, they’re recipients of the sought-after Schulich Leader Scholarship, and soon they’ll be University of Manitoba students.
For the second straight year a pair of incoming U of M students have been chosen for the prestigious undergrad award valued at $60,000 over four years. Recent high school grads Jayden McKoy, from Miles Macdonell Collegiate, and Ella Thomson, from Balmoral Hall School, are set to begin their studies in the Faculty of Engineering this fall. These top students were in competition with 994 other nominees across Canada. Forty scholarships are awarded annually as part of a $100 million initiative created by Canadian business leader and philanthropist Seymour Schulich. The program is managed by United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto in conjunction with 25 academic institutions in Canada and Israel.
McKoy, who also received a U of M Bison scholarship, has excelled not only in the classroom but on the football field and basketball court. He’s a top recruit of the Bison football team, having received the highest honour in the Winnipeg High School Football League: the Harry Hood Memorial Award, awarded to a player who demonstrates upstanding character in academics and sport. McKoy was a math and science tutor, a youth basketball coach, and maintained a 93 per cent grade average while earning his French Immersion diploma.
Thomson, who also received a U of M Leader of Tomorrow Scholarship, secured the highest overall average at her school from Grades 5 through 12. She has already done research in biosystems engineering on campus, investigating biofuel and bioplastic alternatives and presenting her ‘green’ research to local members of parliament. Twice a member of Team Canada at the World Public Speaking Championship, her debating skills earned her a fourth-place world ranking. Closer to home, she started a science club for Grade 6 to 8 girls and helped refugees gain technology-related skills. She continues to advocate for sustainable development, through Polar Bears International.