Spirit of Sandra Junior Curling Scholarship Headline ornament

2013 Spirit of Sandra Scholars

The Sandra Schmirler Foundation is pleased to present the successful applicants for the 2013 Spirit of Sandra $5,000 junior curling scholarships from a very impressive array of competitive Canadian curlers with outstanding achievements in academics, competitive sport and community involvement.

In addition to the financial support these Scholars will receive, they will also be mentored by world championship curlers, Jon Mead and Cathy Overton-Clapham who have volunteered their time to help these young curlers realize their own dreams. The six Scholars will join Cathy and Jon in Winnipeg in August for a 2-day training session.

Each of the Scholars has committed to organizing a fund-raiser in their local community to build awareness and raise money to support the mission of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation: to donate to Hospital Neonatal Intense Care Units (NICUs) across Canada for the purchase of life-saving equipment for babies born too soon, too small or too sick. Two of the applicants for the Spirit of Sandra Scholarships were born pre-mature and spent time in a NICU at their local hospitals,

Shannon Birchard, Winnipeg MB
Shannon Birchard


Shannon Birchard is 19 years old and is currently a student at the University of Winnipeg, Faculty of Science. Shannon and her team won back-to-back Manitoba Junior Curling Championships in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. She then skipped her team to the silver medal both years at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships.

Shannon is very active in her community having volunteered at a soup kitchen and homeless shelter. In her own words, "Community Service is a means to balance my life and hopefully make a difference for the people I'm helping." Born six weeks premature and weighing less than five pounds, Shannon started her life in a neonatal unit. "Working with the Sandra Schmirler Foundation is the perfect way for me to give back to the hospital, nurses and doctors who took such good care of me at that time".

Derek Oryniak, Winnipeg MB
Derek Oryniak


Derek Oryniak is 18 years old. He is entering his second year at the University of Winnipeg and hopes to become either a Doctor or Dentist. Derek competed at the Youth Olympic Games in 2012 where he was a bronze medalist playing second for Team Canada. His team won their Provincial Junior Championships in 2012 finishing third at the Canadian Junior Championships.

Derek had various leadership roles in high school and continues to be assistant coach on both the varsity and junior varsity badminton teams. He is coach certified and regularly holds curling clinics for little rocks, bantam and junior curlers. "I am honoured to receive this scholarship because the Sandra Schmirler Foundation believes everyone has the capacity to be a champion. Not only is it my goal to achieve success in life but it's also my goal to help others achieve theirs."

Jocelyn Peterman, Red Deer AB
Jocelyn Peterman


Jocelyn Peterman is 19 years old. After completing her two years at Mount Royal University she will be transferring to University of Calgary to take the Kinesiology program. She is a certified Club Coach and is actively involved in instructing at camps, clinics and with junior and adult curling leagues. Her volunteer activity also includes instructing with the Special Olympics curling and softball programs.

Jocelyn skipped her team to the 2012 Canadian Junior Curling crown. At the 2013 World Junior Championships she was presented with the Sportsmanship Award. "It simply amazes me at all of the things that the Foundation does to help families in need in Sandra's name. Being affiliated with the Sandra Schmirler Foundation is truly a great honour."

Matthew Smith, Keewatin ON
Matthew Smith


Matthew Smith is 17 years old. He will be attending Lakehead University in Thunder Bay pursuing an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in accounting.

Matthew started curling in the Keewatin Curling Club's Little Rock program and is a trained Competition Coach - working toward certification. He has served as the junior representative on the Curling Club Board of Management and has been recognized with awards for both athletic achievement and volunteerism. His favourite volunteer activity was heading up the Little Rock program and ensuring kids had fun while they learned to curl with the hope they would continue for many years. "I'm looking forward to the next stage of my life and with the support of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation Spirit of Sandra Scholarship being able to follow in the footsteps of so many great curlers from Northern Ontario."

Kristen Streifel, Clavet, Saskatoon SK
Kristen Streifel


Kristen Streifel is 17 years old and will be attending the University of Saskatchewan pursuing a career in health sciences.

Kristen skipped the winning team at the 2012 Provincial Junior Championships. She is an outstanding athlete in other sports including golf, track and field, soccer, badminton and volleyball. Kristen actively volunteered at her high school and in the community, coaching and promoting physical fitness. From 2010 - 2013 inclusive, Kristen received the Excellence Award for academic, athletic, sportsmanship, community and volunteer achievements. "I want more than anything to be a champion like Sandra Schmirler. To be associated with this truly inspirational hero is a real privilege."

Cathlia Ward, Fredericton NB
Kristen Streifel


Cathlia Ward is 19 years old and a student at the University of New Brunswick - Renaissance College studying in the Bachelor of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies program with a minor in French. This is a one of a kind program where only 30 students are admitted annually from around the world.

Cathlia has won several curling titles over the course of her Junior career. In 2011 she represented New Brunswick at the Halifax Canada Winter Games and in 2012 she represented New Brunswick again at the U18 Atlantic Championships where she won gold. In 2013, Cathlia and her team won the Provincial Junior Curling Championships and represented New Brunswick at the 2013 Junior Curling Nationals. Cathlia was then selected as the alternate for the Junior Women's National Team at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Sochi, Russia.

Cathlia has always been active in her community with leadership roles in non-profit and socially conscious enterprises. One of her favourite volunteer activity is coaching Little Rocks. "Watching the excitement on the faces of the kids when they make their first take-out or draw to the button for the first time is priceless". Cathlia is excited to be a Spirit of Sandra Scholar because "I love what the Sandra Schmirler Foundation stands for... that all champions start small."


2014 Spirit of Sandra Junior Curling Scholarship Headline ornament

General Information:

The Spirit of Sandra Junior Curling Scholarship is intended for young athletes who participate in curling in their graduating year from high school or while pursuing a post-secondary education on a full-time basis. The Scholarships will be awarded to graduating high school students entering a post-secondary institution and to students in their first or second year in a post-secondary institution. Recipients must be under the age of 21 years as of March 31, 2015. The aim is to give talented junior curlers the opportunity of combining their competitive curling pursuits with a year of academic study (i.e. September through April) in a Canadian University/College setting.

In recognition of Sandra Schmirler, the three-time Canadian and World Curling Champion and first gold medalist for curling in the Olympics, Scholarships will be awarded in the “Spirit of Sandra” and in the name of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.

Number of Scholarships

Six (6) scholarships will be awarded each year.

Monetary Value of a Scholarship

Each scholarship will have a value of $5000.

Award Components

The successful applicants will be reimbursed for $2500 allowable expenses (see chart) in both education and curling categories for a total of $5,000. All expenses must be submitted with receipts and received no later than April 30, 2014.

Criteria for Awarding Scholarship

  1. Emphasis will be placed on athletes who have competed at the provincial/territorial level or higher, who have maintained a high level of academic standing, while showing a commitment to curling through their involvement in coaching, officiating and/or volunteer activities.
  2. Preference will be given to athletes attending, or planning to attend university, college or a CEGEP while continuing to compete at a high performance level in curling.
  3. Academic background - minimum grade average of 80% or equivalent grade point average (GPA).
  4. Must be under the age of 21 as of March 31, 2014, a Grade 12 student entering first year of post-secondary studies or a post-secondary student entering his/her second or third year or studies.
  5. Applicant must be a Canadian citizen.
  6. Must be enrolled full-time for at least one semester (Fall/Winter/Summer).
  7. The awardee will commit to having achieved or achieving their NCCP Club Coach - Curling.
  8. The awardee will agree to organize a minimum of two fundraising events for the Sandra Schmirler Foundation in the 12 months following receiving the Award.
  9. Awardees shall agree to the "Terms and Conditions" of the scholarship and sign the "Letter of Agreement".

Qualified Expenses

A Spirit of Sandra Junior Scholarship has a total value of $5,000 with $2,500 available for education expenses and $2,500 available for curling related expenses. Qualified education expenses include tuition and fees required to enroll at or attend an eligible educational institution and course-related expenses such as fees, books, supplies, and equipment that are required for the courses at the high school, college or university. Expenses that don’t qualify include room and board, research, clerical assistance, or equipment and other expenses that are not required for enrollment in or attendance at the educational institution. Qualified curling expenses include entry fees to sanctioned curling competitions and curling-related expenses such as travel, medical (chiropractor, massage therapist, physiotherapist, sport psychologist), equipment/clothing, training and skills development (fitness membership). Expenses that don’t qualify include meals and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements, even if prescribed by a medical practitioner.

Download Eligible Expenses

How to Apply for a Scholarship

  1. Complete the application form.
  2. Submit a video (3-5 minutes) outlining why you feel you are a qualified candidate for this Scholarship. Include your experience and/or future plans that complement the criteria for the award. Explain how the Scholarship will help you pursue your goals.
  3. Submit a copy of your high school or university transcripts.
  4. Submit two letters of recommendation.

Application Deadline

Application deadline for 2014 is midnight (Eastern Time) May 1, 2014. Successful applicants will be notified no later than May 31, 2014. If you have any questions please email bgallagher@sandraschmirler.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When will I know if I'm successful?
A. You will be advised no later than May 31, 2013.

Q. How do I apply for the scholarship?
A. Please visit www.sandraschmirler.org for complete application instructions and to download the Spirit of Sandra Junior Curling Scholarship Application Form. With your application please submit the signed Letter of Agreement, your high school or university transcripts, two letters of recommendation, letter of acceptance (if applicable) and video.

Q. If I have questions, who should I contact?
A. Please Brenda Gallagher at bgallagher@sandraschmirler.org or 1.866.210.6011.

Q. Is the scholarship renewable?
A. Any athlete who meets the criteria for the award may re-apply.

Make a donation