With 120 applications from across B.C. and only 20 to be approved for the $40,000 post-secondary scholarship, getting in was not as easy as it looked.
But when Langley’s R.E. Mountain Secondary student, Semir Hasic, entered the room and greeted the judges with his bright, broad smile before sharing his story and reference letters, judges knew they had found an ideal candidate.
Hasic was recognized with a scholarship, funded by the Cmolik Foundation, based on his achievements in overcoming adversity and excelling in his studies.
The selection committee was said to be impressed with his application, academic goals, and future career aspirations.
“Such an impressive young man. He walked into the room with a big smile on his face. You could tell that he had a presence, leadership skills and positivity. We were super impressed with him,” said Febe Votch, past chair of the student selection committee.
Moreno Stofanon, Hasic’s rugby coach, recalled his first interaction with the 18-year-old. He described the young man as someone with endless potential, both academically and athletically.
“His presence in a room is instantly felt and commands the respect of his peers. He possesses a unique balance of charisma and humility that captures your attention and offers one the impression that this is no ordinary student you have just come across,” Stofanon added.
The teacher-student duo share a special bond. When Hasic told Stofanon about the scholarship, the coach was quick to offer help.
In fact, he wrote a “long and strong” reference letter, which Hasic said played a significant role in getting him the scholarship. Indeed, the young man was correct, as Votch confirmed that the judging panel was impressed by his letters of support.
“He had glowing references,” Votch commented.
Hasic intends to study biology at the University of British Columbia with the help of the scholarship.
The Langley resident sees the scholarship as a huge relief, getting him a step closer to his goal of attending medical school. Now, he is no longer worried about looking for and repaying student loans and financial aid.
“Because of the scholarship, I now have less burden of worrying about financial adversities,” said Hasic.
Now that he is part of the Cmolik Foundation’s network, he wants to make full use of the foundation’s alumni network, programs for master’s students, and more.
Votch shared that those who graduate through the foundation’s scholarship programs will further have a chance to earn a $30,000 scholarship towards their master’s program in the future.
“Once students join… its like they become a member of the foundation… kind of a family. They create study groups… they go on hikes together… they have an alumni group… they do outings and more,” Votch explained.
Hasic, too, shared the same sentiments and said that the opportunity is more than just a scholarship.
“it is like finding a family,” he said.
The Cmolik Foundation was established in 2008 by C. Russell Cmolik. When he and his wife first helped their kids’ friends pay for their university tuition fees, they realized there was more to be done. After their kids graduated, the couple set up the foundation to help young people facing adversity.
The Cmolik Foundation awards scholarships worth $40,000 to talented students throughout British Columbia. The scholarship program currently has 100 students enrolled. The foundation also awards a number of $30,000 scholarships to eligible alumni who wish to pursue graduate studies.
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