Every year we receive applications from students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievements, leadership skills, and dedication to our community. Thank you to all who applied, and to those who continue to help spread the word year after year to qualifying students.
Showcasing academic and community excellence.
In recognition of their remarkable accomplishments, we are honoured to introduce this year’s scholarship recipients.
Andrew Cimerman is a dedicated scholar with strong ties to his Slovenian heritage. He graduated from St. Michael’s College School, where he excelled in academics and community involvement. Andrew has been a School Ambassador since grade 9, guiding prospective students and families. In grade 12, he earned the prestigious role of school Prefect. Andrew’s commitment to teamwork and leadership extended to the school’s swim team, and he also served as a camp counselor, fostering new friendships among incoming grade 9 students. His passion for business was evident as the president of the DECA club, where he honed his entrepreneurial skills. Andrew’s academic achievements include receiving the Basilian Scholarship for having the 5th highest average in grade 11. He will be pursuing his studies at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, continuing his journey of academic excellence and community involvement.
Mateja Blas embodies a strong connection to her Slovenian heritage and a commitment to academic excellence. She graduated with honours from St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School as an Ontario Scholar and a French Immersion student. Mateja’s commitment to her heritage is evident through her completion of the full Slovenian language credit at Slovenska Sola. In addition to her academic achievements, Mateja actively contributed to her school community as a member of the student council, announcement team, HOSA Chapter, and sports teams. She is now pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at Dalhousie University with plans to specialize in neuroscience. Her Slovenian upbringing, emphasizing community support and compassion, fuels her aspirations to make a positive impact through a future medical career.
Michael Rogina is a standout scholar who has thrived both academically and within his community. His deep appreciation for his family’s roots stems from his grandparents’ inspiring immigrant stories, which have profoundly shaped his values and ambitions. Currently enrolled in the University of Guelph’s Mechanical Engineering program, Michael’s passion for creating and problem-solving drives his academic pursuits. He has demonstrated exceptional leadership and teamwork skills as co-captain of the Varsity Boys Football team, leading them to a ROPSSAA Championship victory. Beyond his extracurriculars, Michael has dedicated over 100 hours to community service, underlining his commitment to preserving his heritage and giving back to his community.
Robert Zupancic is embarking on a journey into Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto, driven by his passion for technology and community impact. With a keen interest in harnessing technology to enhance lives, Robert aspires to develop innovative solutions that address real-world challenges. His leadership and technical prowess shone during high school, where he led the “Tech Team,” ensuring the success of various school events. As the Technological Representative on Student Council, he enhanced school spirit and learning experiences. Rooted in his Slovenian heritage, Robert actively participates in cultural events and volunteers at Clearwater Farm, where he cultivates crops and promotes sustainable agriculture. Robert is poised to make a meaningful impact by addressing global challenges through technology.
This year we are happy to present five scholarships to well-deserving students!
Owen Byrne has been involved in many sports, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities throughout high school, all while maintaining a high academic average. He ran on the cross-country track team, where he won MVP for two consecutive years, and this year qualified to compete at the Ontario cross country championships. Owen was one of 20 candidates selected to represent his school at a leadership event called “Camp Olympia” where he mentored junior students, helping them to become effective leaders. This Fall, Owen will be attending the University of Guelph for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree.
Adam Horvat works hard to achieve his goals of one day becoming a lawyer. He believes that a strong work ethic, good attitude, faith, and open mindfulness are the keys to a happy and successful life. Adam has a strong presence within our community; from regularly attending Slovenian parks to participate in events, to being a member of Mladi Glas and Planika for ten years. With the cancellation of in-person classes during the pandemic, Adam worked diligently and with a high degree of self-focused direction, which landed him numerous offers of admission to several Ontario universities. In the Fall, Adam will be on his way to the University of Toronto Mississauga and work towards a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
Paul Orazem is a gifted academic who studied hard to get into his top university of choice. He has always been an active member in his school, where he performed at the school board’s gifted debate competition and was part of the Ski Team and Yearbook Club. From a young age, Owen helped his community by participating in youth choirs, dedicating time to watch the special needs students to ensure they were cared for during recess and breaks, and taking leadership courses at UTM in the event we would like to become a camp counselor during future summers. Paul will be studying Mechanical Engineering at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Christopher Pinnington demonstrates a passion for the arts and problem solving with creativity, and hopes to apply his love for visual arts to a career in the graphic design field. In school, Christopher was involved in numerous musical theatre productions, founded the school’s first ever Diversity Club, and shared his artistic talents across a variety of clubs. Outside of school, he played in multiple sports leagues, took guitar lessons, sang in church choirs, performed in local theatre productions, and worked as a French tutor. Over the next four years, Christopher will be pursuing an undergraduate Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at OCAD University.
Calista Stergar is an aspiring paramedic who values a strong work ethic and community involvement. Throughout high school, she was able to gather a total of 450 volunteer hours by managing her school’s football team, which enabled Calista to better her communication and team-building skills. As an Equity Ambassador, she had the opportunity to learn about various social issues and identify difficulties in the school community and instruct peers on how to address these issues. Calista will be attending Fleming College for their Pre-Health Sciences program.
A huge congratulations to this years’ scholarship recipients! This year we were delighted to receive many exceptional applications and we decided to give out five scholarships to help our students.
Tea Falzata has always been taught to give back to her community and practice empathy through charity, which is evident in her extensive list of volunteer initiatives. From delivering Christmas baskets to families in need at her local church, to helping out at the Slovenian Summer Camp with a variety of tasks, it’s clear that Tea cares very much about giving back to others. This Fall she will be attending the University of Toronto Mississauga, pursuing a degree in Geography. Tea also plans on continuing her studies at Teachers College where she hopes to one day become an elementary school teacher.
Lucas Grdadolnik has achieved many academic and athletic accomplishments throughout high school. Despite his high school athletic career being cut short due to the pandemic, Lucas was still able to win many awards throughout the years including 2018-19 Junior Male Athlete of the Year and 2020-21 Senior Athlete of the Year. As a way of giving back to his community, he came up with the idea to clean up the basketball court at Slovenski Park, as well as repair other facilities such as new bocce score boards and new tennis nets. Lucas will be attending McMaster University with a goal to graduate with a Masters of Business Administration degree.
Justin Kodric has always put his strongest foot forward in his academic, extracurricular, and social endeavours. In high school he participated in several areas of sport, which lead to numerous awards and achievements. One reason why he played so many sports was because of his participation at the Slovenian Summer Camp. The Canadian-Slovenian community has taught Justin the importance of giving back, and through this he received the gold ribbon from his school for 250+ hours of community service. In the Fall, Justin will be attending Queen’s University for their Bachelor of Applied Science program.
Nikola Lukezic demonstrates a strong work and volunteer ethic in her Slovenian and high school communities. After studying English abroad with her high school in Italy in 2018, Nikola decided to extend her trip to visit Slovenia. This trip helped her realize her passion for the English subject and make the decision to become an English as a Second Language teacher in Slovenia. This year, she decided to take a Slovenian tutor course where she met virtually with a student from the University of Ljubljana once a week strengthen her Slovenian language skills. Nikola has accepted her offer at Wilfred Laurier University to pursue an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree.
Irene Vute has heavily immersed herself in the Slovenian community throughout her childhood, participating in the many different programs and opportunities that were offered not only to have fun, but to help those around her via volunteering and teaching. In school, she made sure to enroll herself in clubs that would allow her to give back and help fellow students, such as the Mental Health Club. Irene managed to balance extracurriculars and her academics as she worked her way to receive both the French Immersion and Spanish certificate, alongside the Slovenian Student Ambassador award from Slovenska Sola. Irene plans to attend Queen’s University for their Bachelor of Nursing Science program in hopes of becoming a registered nurse in the future.
We’ve set a record this year by offering not two, not four, but seven scholarships to these students who have blown us away with their impressive achievements both in and out of school.
Mateja Clifford demonstrates a variety of academic and school pursuits and has proven her devotion to helping others with several volunteer initiatives. She has an impressive list of awards and distinctions under her belt with her most rewarding endeavor being the Engineering Idol, in which Mateja and her team had to use engineering approaches to solve a pre-selected real-world problem. Their four months of hard work earned them first place! She has accepted her offer at the University of British Columbia to pursue an undergraduate Biomedical Engineering degree.
Joseph Falzata is a dedicated student-athlete who is goal oriented and self-motivated. He has exhibited stellar accomplishments both academically and athletically, as he maintained an Honour Roll status throughout high school and won countless titles during his running career (one of them being a national ranking in the 800m run!). While in school, Joseph took advantage of every teaching possibility around him that will take him closer to achieving his goal. He will be attending the University of Toronto to study chemistry with the hopes of specializing in biochemistry.
Samantha Horvat has a strong sense of community values that have been utilized in every branch of her life. She has over 625 community hours, filled with her need to help others. Samantha has demonstrated a balance in life through her numerous extra-curriculars, volunteer endeavors, and excellent grades. She has accepted an offer to The University of Ontario Institute of Technology for their Bachelors of Science in Nursing Program, and is dedicated to pursuing her goals to work in health care so she may help her community through whatever troubling times we encounter.
Angela Orazem has an extensive list of both extra-curriculars and volunteer experience. She’s been involved in numerous competitive sports and has given back to our community since the age of 8 through teaching children’s liturgy, singing in the Naša Pesem choir, and more. Despite a busy life outside of school, in it, Angela has managed to maintain a high average and make Honour Roll every year. Angela has chosen to study at the University of Toronto with a plan on completing a double major in law and history.
Jonathan Pinnington has always worked hard to balance academics with a busy extra-curricular and volunteer schedule. He was a member (and captain) of his Ultimate Frisbee Team and shared his love of sports through volunteering for numerous events and co-creating a Sports Network Club in high school. Within the Slovenian community, Jonathan’s involvement has given him memorable experiences and friendships that will last a lifetime. He will be attending Brock University to pursue an undergraduate Bachelor of Sports Management degree.
Nikita Secnik is dedicated to helping others and being an active member in her community. She has volunteered at the Terry Fox Run in Port Credit to help raise money for cancer research and took on leadership roles both in and out of school. In the Slovenian community, Nikita is apart of Nagelj dance group where she strives to keep the Slovenian tradition of dancing alive in Canada. She will be attending the University of Waterloo for Kinesiology Honours Co-op in hopes of eventually becoming a physiotherapist.
Christopher Smolej has been involved in many different aspects of school and his community. Since a young age, he has been greatly involved in the Slovenian community and put in a tremendous effort to take on active rolls. He has proven to have a deep care for strengthening his community through volunteering and uses his communication skills to channel that passion. Christopher has a love for languages and has spent several years learning French, American Sign Language, and Slovenian. In the Fall, Chris will be starting university at McMaster for their Arts and Science program.
Every year we are amazed at how smart and talented our members are. This year was no different, and we are happy to present scholarships to four well-deserving students.
Karolina Kure will be attending Humber College this Fall enrolled in the Funeral Director Program. Karolina realized her passion for funeral directing during her Co-op placement, where she gained experience in funeral services and received a number of awards for her contributions.
Karolina graduated Michael Power St. Joseph Secondary as an Ontario scholar and community leader. She contributed to her community significantly, going beyond the 40-hour requirement and accumulating over 500 community service hours. Karolina has participated in a wide range of volunteer opportunities, helping to feed the hungry and volunteering for many fundraising events.
Despite dedicating so much time to her community, Karolina maintains a strong commitment to academics, receiving awards in History and helping her peers through tutoring. She also remains an active member of her community and continues to be involved in her church, the Nasa Pesem Choir and the Mladi Glas Planika dance Group.
Megan Keddy is enrolled in the Urban Planning Program at Ryerson University. This program will equip Megan with the skills to realize her dream of planning and designing future neighborhoods and cities.
Megan attended St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School where she graduated as an Ontario Scholar and took an active role in community service. Megan is praised by her peers for her work ethic as she maintained an Honor Roll average every year of high school while supporting charities such as Hope for Haiti and Relay for Life.
Megan takes an active role in her community, volunteering at church events, fundraisers and as a camp leader. During her volunteer experience she has demonstrated leadership through leading camp activities and organizing groups of students to make sleeping mats from recycled milk bags and bracelets to support the children of Haiti.
Caroline Pinnington is excited to attend the University of Toronto for Industrial Engineering.
She is a gifted student-athlete participating in a number of sports and clubs while remaining committed to academics. Caroline demonstrated this commitment enrolling in advanced placement classes and achieving a top score in the Waterloo Math contest while competing competitively in both snowboarding and figure skating.
Caroline’s heritage is very important to her, enrolling in Slovenian school at an early age and participating in Slovenian Scouts for more than six years. She also found the time to further get involved in the community, becoming a member of the Miraculous Medal Choir, and the Nageljcki Dance Group where she performed across Canada and the United States. “Overall, my involvement in the Slovenian Community has given me many incredible memories and experiences and has allowed me to meet many close friends.”
Sean Kodric was accepted to the University of Waterloo for Mechanical Engineering. Sean is intrigued by space travel which lead to his fascination with transportation. Sean hopes to be on the forefront of transportation technology and help to advance space travel.
Sean is a model student-athlete, maintaining high grades while participating in a number of sports such as soccer and track and field. He enjoys playing soccer with the Toronto-Slovenian Soccer Team and takes pride in representing Slovenia in competitions. Sean is excited for the opportunity to play soccer in Slovenia next summer.
Sean also stays involved in the Slovenian community and has been an active part of the community his whole life. He often participates at the Slovenian Summer Camp, breakfast fundraisers and has given back through the banquet service for more than five years. Sean is grateful to the community for what it has given him and stresses the importance of giving back to the community.
This year we received applications from nine outstanding students and couldn’t decide on just two winners, so we chose three!
Erika Hull is attending the University of Guelph to study Human Kinetics. She plans to continue her education after university and attend college for Pre-Service Firefighter Education. Her goal is to pursue a career in firefighting and help protect communities in emergency situations.
Upon graduating from St. Martin Secondary School, Erika received several awards including Specialist High Skills Major in Sports and the Subject Achievement Award for Leadership. She has been apart of many sports teams in and outside of school, such as hockey, baseball, football, swimming, and the track team. Aside from sports and education, Erika has volunteered at Canadian Food for Children, a charity that feeds and clothes the poor all over the world.
Her volunteer experience expands into the Slovenian community as a group leader in the Slovenian girl guides, head server at the Miraculous Medal banquet hall, and coach and lifeguard at the Slovenian Summer Camp. Erika has demonstrated her desire to consistently be a keen representative of Slovenian youth.
Rachel Murgel is enrolled in the Arts and Science program at McMaster University. This program focuses on the development of problem-based learning and critical-thinking skills, which will provide a strong foundation for the career path of Rachel’s choosing.
Rachel attended Bishop Allen Academy Catholic Secondary School. She graduated as an Ontario Scholar and received the Certificate of Distinction in the Cayley Math Contest. Rachel immersed herself in many teams, including the cheerleading squad and Bishop Allen SLAM – a school-based leadership program that emphasizes belonging, growing, and acting as leaders to serve others. Beyond her school activities, Rachel has participated in the Slovenian Explorers and was a student of Slovenska Šola. She has demonstrated strong leadership skills through organizing activities for the new generation of Slovenians, which helps them remain connected to their roots and make friends with those of similar heritage.
Juliana Podobnik will be attending McMaster University to study Life Sciences, a degree that will offer many possible career paths in the medical and biological fields.
Juliana attended St. Marcellinus Secondary School where she was involved in several clubs and competed in high-skills competitions with stellar results. Juliana has been active in our community through attending Slovenska Šola, where she was apart of the church choir and played piano for talent shows, as well as volunteered at the Slovenian Summer Camp coaching children’s sports.
Her biggest accomplishment was representing her school at COLS (Central Ontario Leadership Seminars) where she learned what it means to be a leader. Through this conference, Juliana decided she wants to make a difference in people’s live, which lead her to her chosen career path.
Natalie Marentic is attending The University of Toronto Mississauga to study Humanities. She plans to major in French and double minor in Chemistry and Biology, as well as apply to teacher’s college upon earning her undergraduate degree. Her career ambition is to become a teacher to “encourage, enlighten, and inspire.”
Natalie attended St. Joseph Secondary School where she was actively involved in several teams and clubs, while maintaining an impressive average to make honour roll all four years. She was the recipient of numerous awards for the subjects of Visual Arts, French, Physics, Religion, Civics, and English. In her final year, she volunteered as a peer tutor for the subjects of French and English.
Since graduating from Slovenska Šola, Natalie has been actively involved within the Slovenian community. She has been a teacher’s assistant in the school as well as a junior leader for the Slovenian Girl Scouts, where she was able to showcase her stellar leadership skills. “I am extremely grateful for the culturally enriching experiences I have had in the Slovenian community, which have made me proud to call myself a Slovenian” she says.
Jacqueline Anne Pinnington is enrolled in the Kinesiology Program at The University of Toronto, where she will be prepared to pursue a wide array of career choices or continue to study in professional and graduate schools.
Jacqueline attended Loretto Abbey Catholic Secondary School where upon graduating, received an Ontario Scholar and Extended French Certificate. She is fully bilingual and participated in a two-week student exchange program in France. Her involvement at high school extends beyond academics to include sports, music, and leadership experiences.
As an active member of the Slovenian community, Jacqueline has completed grades 1-7 at Slovenska Šola and travelled to Slovenia with her classmates and school staff. She has also been a member of Nageljcki and Nagelj Slovenian Cultural Dance Group since 2005 and has performed at numerous venues across Canada and the United States. “I have formed close friendships in the Slovenian community with many that I have shared amazing experiences and memories with over the years and I continue to make an effort to maintain them going forward.”