SPRINGDALE, N.L. — A phone call interrupting a school activity is usually something a little embarrassing for a student, but certainly not the one Abbie Rowsell received to inform her she was the recipient of a Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.
“I can barely remember it,” the student of Indian River High in Springdale said of the call she received while tutoring math. “I was really overwhelmed because I didn’t expect to receive it, having only 20 people out of Canada win it.
“It is just an honour being recognized by the Terry Fox (Foundation), let alone receiving the money value of it.”
The scholarship is valued at $28,000 dispersed over four years. The recipients are recognized as young humanitarians who have worked tirelessly to channel some of the same principles, values, and goals that Terry Fox held — be it a passion for helping those in need or demonstrating perseverance and determination in the face of adversity.
“I can’t even explain it,” Abbie said of having her name coincide with that of Terry Fox. “It is extraordinary having that honour. Everybody knows who Terry Fox is, and this just means a lot.”
She has enrolled at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook. There, Abbie hopes to achieve a bachelor of science degree with the ultimate goal of becoming a math and science teacher.
“I always loved math and science growing up,” she said. “The past three years in school I have spent tutoring, which made me really understand that I want to continue helping students in the future.”
She has been a very active athlete and volunteer at Indian River High. She is a multisport athlete and is an executive member of the student leadership program and a member of the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA). She was also president of the graduating committee this year. Abbie said it was important to her to be actively involved in her school community.
“Just being able to have a say in what is happening with your classmates, and to be able to get to know your classmates better,” she said. “You create a bond with people that will last a lifetime.”
Not having to worry about the financial burden of university is a major stress reliever, according to Abbie. While it is sad for her to think about leaving Indian River High, she is excited about the next chapter in her life.
“I am excited to meet new people and see the world,” she said. “From growing up in such a small place, it is not a major change, but there are more experiences and opportunities. I am excited to see those and get to experience it.”