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August 11, 2023

Xplore is continually investing to bring world-class Internet to rural communities across Canada, to help connect more communities to a brighter future.

The thing that makes communities thrive is its people. That’s why Xplore and Golden West Broadcasting teamed up last semester to give a bunch of lucky students $500 to start their journey toward the future after graduation.

To enter, friends, family, and teachers filled out nomination forms telling us why their nominee should win.

Jesse Mosseau and a group of people

Jesse Mousseau of Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) was the first winner. Jesse was not only nominated by his teachers but also by some friends in his class. One of the key points in his nomination forms was that he is the first in his family to graduate, which is something he takes great pride in. Mousseau said it was a driving force that kept him committed to the task over the years.

You can see the video of the radio station giving Jesse the good news here:

Paige Bulachowski from PCI was our second winner, thanks to nominations from multiple workers at Lions Prairie Manor.

Paige Bulachowski holding a cheque

Paige would spend her time at the manor playing the fiddle for residents. She told the radio station that she’s been fiddling for 14 years.

She was thrilled that so many people thought highly enough of her to nominate her for this type of contest. Looking ahead, she plans to major in Business and will use her winnings to fundtowards her post-secondary education.

Our next winner was Grace Glover who is looking forward to attending the University of Alberta for Elementary Education in the fall and playing hockey with the Pandas.

“I hope to be a teacher and teach at a rural school and be really involved in the community with the hockey programs, 4H, and everything like that. Hopefully, I can live on a farm and have some cows and kind of continue what I’ve been doing,” she told the radio station.

Grace was really pleased to have a little extra cash in her pocket to put toward her education.

“The cost of post-secondary has really climbed over the past few years. Even from when my parents went to school compared to now, they’ve said it's really changed. The cost of housing and everything like that has really jumped too so anything you can get is really helpful,” she said.

Jayden Dueck, our fourth winner, is looking forward to starting Construction Management at Red River College this fall. In high school, he majored in Carpentry and achieved a 96.6% average throughout his four years.

Xplore's Connect to the Future Winner - Jayden Dueck

He told the radio station that he’s putting his prize winnings toward his future at Red River.

When asked why he nominated Jayden, his teacher, Paul Wilson said he was a very committed student.

“He just takes all of his courses very seriously. It wouldn’t matter if it was carpentry or chemistry he would put in 100% effort all the time. Can’t say enough good things about him. Just a good kid,” Paul said.

Another winner, Kiera Johnston, a Carman Collegiate graduate, is going to Brier Crest College and Seminary next year to take a 1-year certificate in biblical studies and once complete will work toward a career in the medical field.

Kiera Johnston holding a cheque

“I just want to be able to help people in my career in the future. I think being in the medical field would be a good way to do that and a really rewarding career choice,” she said.

During her four years at Carman Collegiate Kiera was a member of the student council and the Envirothon club which took second place in provincials this year. Kiera is grateful to have been able to participate in these types of activities in her second half of high school, after facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She is headed to work as a camp councilor at Winkler Bible Camp for the summer before heading off to college.

Correen Johnston, Kiera’s mother nominated her for the contest. She says that her daughter values growing up in a small community and recognizes the importance of volunteering and giving back to those around her.

“She volunteers regularly as a video technician at her church, has been a children’s church leader for a number of years...(and has taken on) leadership roles in 4H. She is a busy girl. She loves life and it’s exciting to see what she’s going to do in the future. Thank you for the opportunity of such an award. It’s pretty neat to grow up in the small area and understanding the community and the importance of giving back,” Coreen said.

Boissevain graduate, Kaylie Polnik, will be heading to the University of Regina to pursue her degree in Business and she'll have an extra $500 to help her with those future ventures.

Hailie Polnick holding a cheque

Like all our winners, Kaylie is an accomplished member of her community. She serves as part of the student government at her school, works with senior services, and teaches swimming lessons. She was quite surprised to learn of her winnings after her mother nominated her.

"My parents have always pushed me really hard to have a very good work ethic and they've always helped me to succeed in everything that I do,” she said.

Her long-term goal is to have a career in marketing.

Last but not least, winner Elayna Richardson-Kuzyk is heading to the engineering program at the University of Alberta this fall.

Elayna Richardson Kuzyk holding a cheque

Thank you to everyone who nominated a 2023 graduate for the Xplore Connect to the Future contest. We cannot wait to see the incredible things these bright students achieve.

If you liked this article, you should check out the Rural Connections Contest, which gave six prizes of $1000 to western Canadian charities to help them continue giving back to their communities.

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