The Sandra Schmirler Foundation has awarded six student-curlers with scholarships of $5,000 each and a chance to work with a world champion mentor as they pursue their dreams on and off the curling ice. This year’s Spirit of Sandra Scholars hail from British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador and join nearly 30 former Spirit of Sandra Scholars in keeping Sandra Schmirler’s legacy strong.
The Spirit of Sandra class of 2020 includes a Youth Olympic gold medalist, an aspiring pathologist who was born premature, a future nurse inspired by the hard work of frontline workers during Covid-19 and curlers who have achieved success at the provincial, national and international level.
“Each of our scholars excel both athletically and academically. And, they are all engaged with their communities and committed to giving back to curling and keeping Sandra’s legacy alive,” said foundation board member Cathy Overton-Clapham.
As well as receiving a $5,000 scholarship, the student-curlers will receive mentoring from Overton-Clapham, a world champion and five-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion.
The 2020 Spirit of Sandra Scholars are Bella Croisier (Ontario), Dustin Mikush (Saskatchewan), Johnson Tao (British Columbia), Michael Nunn (British Columbia), Nathan Young (Newfoundland and Labrador), Skylar Ackerman (Saskatchewan).
Each Spirit of Sandra Scholar will organize a fundraising event to benefit the Sandra Schmirler Foundation and to keep Sandra’s legacy alive. At the end of the 2020-2021 curling season, the scholars will award a $10,000 grant to a hospital of their choice for the purchase of life-saving equipment to help save babies born too soon, too small or too sick.
Since 2013 the Sandra Schmirler Foundation has provided substantial scholarships to 29 Canadian curlers. Many of the young athletes have gone on to achieve great success in their curling careers. Two-time Scotties champion Shannon Birchard and 2016 Scotties champion Jocelyn Peterman received Spirit of Sandra Scholarships in 2013. Tyler Tardi, a two-time World Junior gold medalist, was the recipient of a Spirit of Sandra Scholarship in 2016. Most recently, Emily Zacharias of Manitoba won World Junior Gold for Canada just months after being named to the class of 2019 Spirit of Sandra Scholars.