Muskoka Lakes Association names winner of first student bursary

A Bracebridge-Muskoka Lakes Secondary School student has won the first-ever Muskoka Lakes Association Bursary.  Shelby Rushton, a grade 12 student at BMLSS, was named the bursary winner at the association’s annual general meeting on July 26.

The $5,000 bursary, announced in January of this year, was available to students graduating from Bracebridge & Muskoka Lakes Secondary School, Gravenhurst High School and St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School.

The MLA Bursary is structured to assist students in their first and second year studies.

Following completion of her first year of post-secondary education, the MLA will offer Rushton, who accepted admission to the communications studies program at the University of Ottawa this fall, the option to accept employment with the MLA during the summer of 2014.

“We were thrilled with the quality of applications we received,” said Mike Langdon, president, Muskoka Lakes Association.  “Our goal is to make a meaningful contribution to the post-secondary education of an exceptional local student, and we think we’ve done just that.”

In addition to strong academic achievement, Rushton co-headed a fundraising campaign to benefit an injured fellow student, taught paddling skills to Muskoka youth, and demonstrated an affinity for environmental stewardship.

“Shelby represents so much of what’s great about Muskoka,” said Langdon.  “We think she’s a great standard-bearer for Muskoka, the MLA and our new bursary program.  We were thoroughly impressed by her application and interview.”

Announced as a pilot program in 2013, the MLA Bursary aims to recognize a student entering post-secondary education – with preference given to students pursuing studies in a field related to the association’s core mandate: the environment and water quality, political science, land use planning, recreation and leisure, and communications and marketing. 

“A top priority of the program is to continue building a local knowledge base in the things MLA members care deeply about,” said Lisa Noonan, Senior Manager, Muskoka Lakes Association.  “We look forward to offering Shelby the opportunity to expand her skills with the MLA next summer.”

The MLA Bursary will be available to a local graduating student in 2014. The application process begins in March.  Students should speak to their guidance counselors for additional information.