2019 Freda Smith Bursary Winner

by Pat Carew, Diocesan Health and Education Chairperson 


This Bursary pays tribute to Freda Smith, a long-time member of the Catholic Women’s League of Canada. The League was a huge part of Freda’s life. She rarely missed a meeting of her own Council. She attended Diocesan Interim Meetings and Conventions at all levels. Freda was always supportive of other Councils and Parishes, by attending their functions and special events. She was Parish President many times and served on the Executive in many capacities. She also served on the Diocesan Executive and as Provincial Secretary. In 1958 Freda earned the League’s highest honour … today’s equivalent to ‘Life Member’.

I would like to thank the members of the Selection Committee, Margaret Beardon and Mary Nicholas, for helping me in the selection process. This bursary of $750 is awarded to a child or grandchild of a member of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Victoria and has been in effect since 2005. We received a total of six applications from Victoria, Parksville, Courtenay, and Campbell River. Each student’s narrative essay told their ‘story’: specifying interests, extra-curricular activities, revealing future dreams and aspirations, and showing involvement in church and community.

I was amazed by the accomplishments of all the applicants, which made selecting the recipient very difficult. Each committee member selected their top two applicants based on the criteria of financial need, academic performance, and church and community involvement. Each of us had chosen one young lady in particular. After thorough consideration of the criteria specifications, the selection committee unanimously agreed that the student most qualified to be awarded the Bursary is:

Hanna Brassard

From Christ the King Parish in Courtenay
(and no, geographic location was not taken into consideration)

 In her grade 11 classes, Hanna maintained an average of 97%. She was on the Principal’s Honour Roll and was an Academic Pillar Nominee in June of 2017 and 2018. Her school activities included participation in Mark R Isfeld’s Grad Executive, Grad Fashion Show, the Environment Club, Eco-Fair, French Feast, and French Beach Day. 

Her community involvement included playing soccer in the Select League (she was team captain), dance both as a dancer and a senior mentor, a Volunteer at Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner, a registration volunteer for the YANA ride (which raises funds for the You Are Not Alone Society which provides financial assistance to families with young children who have to travel to the mainland for medical treatment), an entrepreneur at a youth Craft Fair, and a crafter for Christ the King CWL’s Fall Bazaar. Hanna also played a significant leadership role from 2016 to the present in such fields as youth mental health, Island Santa Book Giveaway, and the Butterfly Ball for the Children’s Health Foundation, a foundation for which her mother works.

Hanna and her older sister were raised by a single mother. Their family places tremendous value on education and are committed to post-secondary learning. Hanna plans to study Engineering and has been accepted at both the University of British Columbia and the University of Alberta. Her career goal is to work for the Canadian Space Agency to help further Canada’s contribution to space exploration. Not too many years ago an ambition like that would have led her into a career writing science fiction novels. How the world has changed. She also learned a lot of new skills when they bought a tiny little house and worked together to renovate it. 

I think you will agree with the selection committee that Hanna Brassard is a very worthy recipient of our Freda Smith Bursary.