Liverpool Regional High School (LRHS) 2020 graduate, Olivia Nowe, recently found out she was the recipient of the prestigious Bell Achievement Award worth $44,000 over the next four years.
“I was ecstatic,” she said, after hearing about the scholarship.
The 18-year-old is in her first year at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick, pursuing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Modern Languages, Literature and Cultures. After her fourth year, she hopes to be fluent in French and German and to be conversational in Spanish.
According to the school’s website, the award was established in 2002 as the premier entrance scholarship at Mount Allison. The Bell Scholarship celebrates students who have demonstrated strong academic ability, leadership potential, volunteerism, extracurricular involvement, work experience, and good citizenship.
Nowe was a member of the Queen’s County Girls’ Choir for several years, and participated in the province-wide Catapult Leadership Camp. In 2019, she was able to see former U.S. President Barack Obama speak in Halifax.
At LRHS, she was co-president of the student council and was involved in the yearbook club, Kiwanis Key Club, Safe Grad, Tutoring Program Co-op, and the Scholarship Auction Committee. She was also a member of the school’s REP (Respect, Empathy, Positivity) Committee, which focuses on mental health advocacy and organizes food bank donations. Additionally, she was active in school basketball.
Nowe has held jobs at Queens Place Emera Centre, and in the summer of 2020 she worked at Queen’s Manor as a member of the recreation team.
Upon graduating from high school, she received numerous awards including the Milton Community Association Bursary, worth $250; The Liverpool Regional High School Scholarship Auction Scholarship, worth $1000; and The SSRCE Memorial Bursary, worth $750.
According to Nowe, there were a few steps involved in getting the Bell Achievement Award.
Originally, she was offered the President’s Award, worth $20,000. The university then offered her a $36,000 Bell Achievement Award with an $8,000 internship guarantee, because “someone may have deferred or declined the offer,” said Nowe. “They said I was close in line to moving up to the higher scholarship and I actually got it.”
Among the criteria for the scholarship is that she must maintain a 3.5 GPA throughout the four years.
Nowe, who grew up in Milton, said she is the first of her family to go to university, which makes the award and just being able to have the opportunity to attend that much more special.
“This was kind of a huge leap of faith for me. I am the first one to go away and experience something new. Everyone at home has been at home forever,” she said. “My dad has been great and supportive through all of this.”
Nowe grew up with her father John, an older sister, and a brother. Her parents divorced when she was young. and her mother, Kelly Deal, resides in Springhill, Cumberland County.
Her siblings and her father have Type 1 diabetes and her siblings both have cystic fibrosis.
Growing up, Nowe said, it took a lot of money to support the family and pay for medications. Though her paternal grandparents and uncle who lived nearby were supportive, finances were a struggle and her father had a tough time getting a job through her school years.
“I am very fortunate that I have a father who is so supportive of my goals. Without the support from him and my grandmother, I don’t quite know who I would be today,” said Nowe.
A summer theatre camp scholarship from the town led to a love of theatre and she attended summer camp in Liverpool for a number of years.
In Grade 6, Nowe and fellow students created A Breath of Fresh Air, a community youth theatre group, for which Nowe stayed involved throughout junior and senior high school.
Kallie Koliotassis was her drama teacher/director throughout her junior and senior high years.
“She’s very bright and always had goals and she works up to them. She doesn’t like to let herself down,” the teacher commented. Koliotassis suggests the struggles Nowe faced and worked through have shaped her to be a strong and confident young woman.
“I think going away was daunting for her because I don’t think she has been away from her family for so long,” she said. “But I think this will give her a sense of independence and will show herself who she really is away from her family. I think she is going to do well.”
Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin