Thomas Hartlen and Natasha Williamson hold up a sampling of the candy kabobs Williamson sold in an effort to raise money for a cancer care centre she will soon visit in Mexico. Williamson also organized an auction that will benefit the same organization.
An Avon View High School student is one of 21 Nova Scotians bound for Mexico on scholarship at the end of the month.
Natasha Williamson, a Grade 11 student residing in Leminster, is travelling to Campeche on a $2,500 scholarship from Feb. 28 to March 15.
While there, Williamson will participate in a leadership camp, live with a host family, become integrated into the local schooling system, learn some basics about speaking Spanish, embark on day trips in and around Campeche, and gain a better understanding of a new culture.
“Through that sort of culture exposure you learn more about everyone around you and about yourself, too,” the 16-year-old said.
“I’ve never travelled abroad to stay with a completely new set of faces as a host family.”
Williamson was advised of the scholarship opportunity by faculty at Avon View. The application process involved answering a series of questions and writing an essay that explained how the leadership skills she gained from the trip would be put to good use in the future.
The well-spoken student says she expects to return from the trip with an open mind, and appreciation for a country that is largely a mystery to her.
While the cost of her travel is completely paid for through the scholarship, Williamson has spent the weeks leading up to her departure fundraising forthe Mexican Association for Support of Children with Cancer.
The select group of students will visit the cancer care centre and drop off a sizeable donation that includes the proceeds raised through fundraisers each scholarship recipient organized.
Williamson’s goal was to collect at least $500 for the Campeche-based organization.
“We will be going to the cancer centre, meeting cancer patients, forming bonds with these patients and then basically helping them with all of the money we’ve raised,” she said.
Williamson says she is grateful her principal and guidance counsellor encouraged her to apply for the scholarship.
“It’s as big of a school achievement as it is my personal achievement.”