Laurier International hosts it’s first ever excellence dinner to commend high achievers

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Phot by Yitian Cai

On Mar. 19, Wilfrid Laurier University’s international and global engagement program hosted its first annual Student Recognition dinner to award 24 international students with Academic Improvement scholarships.

“This recognition event was held for international students who received a scholarship for their academic improvement. These were students who were on probation or applied to withdraw, who have since cleared their probation and have been excelling since then,” said Candace Stewart-Smith, international student academic transition advisor for Laurier International.

“Scholarships are given to students with academic success, but not a lot consider students with great academic improvement. In our case, we consider international students coming from another country facing different challenges; adjusting to life in Canada, the academic system …we wanted to ensure that the students we are bringing here [are able to stay],” Stewart-Smith said.

During the event, students were invited to sum-up their Laurier experiences in one word by writing it down on purple stones with gold markers, which included “Overcome”, “Friends” and “Grateful”. These stones are now in the Laurier International office as a token of the evening’s spirit.

The event hosted a performance by Christopher Clarke, a Laurier music student, as well as a keynote speech from Laurier alumnus and financial planner Parker Zhang, a former Laurier international student.

Zhang was invited to speak to the students and guests about his own challenges at Laurier as an international student such as language barriers and environmental adjustments. Further, how Laurier International provided him with the resources to graduate successfully with a Bachelors degree in economics and a Masters of Business Administration.

“It’s important to continue recognizing these students and encourage other students who may be facing the same challenges and ensure them they have the opportunity to do well also,” Stewart-Smith said.

Ten of the total students receiving academic scholarships were in attendance at the event, along with many faculty and administration members who came to show their support for the students. All enjoyed dinner, catered by Wilfs.

During the event, students were invited to sum-up their Laurier experiences in one word by writing it down on purple stones with gold markers, which included “Overcome”, “Friends” and “Grateful”. These stones are now in the Laurier International office as a token of the evening’s spirit.

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