By Ted Simpson –
Nepean High School senior Frannie Sobcov is making the leap from Westboro into the wide world this fall, but she won’t be doing it without support. Her devotion to community and hard work has earned Sobcov the backing of one of the most prestigious scholarships in Canada, the Loran Scholars Program. It’s awarded to just 30 students each year, and provides up to $100,000 in financial support for the recipient’s university studies.
The program states that, “Loran Scholars are people of strong moral character who have demonstrated commitment to service and potential as leaders.”
It was a fellow student council member who encouraged Sobcov to submit her application, two days before the October 29 deadline.
“It’s a super extensive application process, so that was hard to get done in a couple of days. I worked well into the night,” says Sobocov.
She joined approximately 3,500 other hopeful applicants. From there, the contenders were narrowed down to 350, who were then required to go through an extensive interview process. Sobcov had six interviews in one day.
“The interviewers are really phenomenal individuals. They want to see kids succeed. It’s stressful but exciting more than anything else. I was very happy to be there,” she says.
Sobcov was selected not only for high grades, but also her commitment to volunteerism and community support. She has previously been co-chair of the United Way’s pancake breakfast, benefiting the Dave Smith Foundation – a program for helping teens with drug and alcohol addictions.
She has also been a part of Dandelion Dance Company, a social activism dance and theatre group that explores social issues through dance and movement.
“We took about 10 girls every year and we could challenge the notions of what dance is by pairing that with human rights or women’s rights, things that the girls were passionate about, and telling their stories,” explains Sobcov. She is also passionate about the arts, and is active in the school’s theatre and music programs. She’ll be playing guitar and singing Iron and Wine at an upcoming school coffee house. (Sobcov admits that she doesn’t get a lot of sleep.)
From the first group of 350 selected Loran applicants, 75 are sent to Toronto for the finals. Sobcov completed another two days of interviews, which included appearing before a panel of her previous interviewers. In the end, she was one of the final 30 students who were awarded the full scholarship.
The Loran program offers students much more than just financial support. Sobcov will be connected with a mentor in her selected university community to provide guidance and networking over the next four years of her studies. There is also a summer program that sends Loren recipients to international positions working in public policy, community development and major enterprise over three years.
“I’m excited to do enterprise in Europe or maybe community work in Africa and get to see the world,” says Sobcov.
At the moment, Sobcov is weighing her options for the fall. Her top choices include Queens University for Concurrent Education, with a second degree in Global Development, or McGill for International Development.
With so much on the horizon for this young woman, she attributes her success to great friends and great mentors, in school and the community, to helping her strive for success.
“My pillars would be organization and hard work,” says Sobcov. “I think that this certainly didn’t happen in a microcosm. I was very fortunate to have the support I did. I definitely work very hard and I bring 100 per cent of myself to the things that I do.”