Morehead-Cain scholarship finalists (left to right) Monty Evans, Charlie Tran, Alaina Shields, Megan Lienau, Maggie Helmke, Mark Finamore, Bri Thompson, Jonathan Piland, Morgan Davies and Deven Kinney met during the finalist weekend in February. (Photo courtesy Mark Finamore)

Saanich student receives full-ride Morehead-Cain scholarship to American university

Mark Finamore to attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A Saanich high school student has been awarded a prestigious full-ride scholarship to an American university.

Mark Finamore, a Grade 12 student at St. Michaels University School (SMUS), is still processing that he’s one of 70 scholars who will receive the Morehead-Cain award – a fully-funded undergraduate scholarship to the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.

Finamore found out he’d won the hefty award via email in early March.

READ ALSO: Saanich student captures morning dropoff traffic with drive-thru for a cause

“I was so excited,” he said, noting that he didn’t believe it at first and had to have someone else read the email. After confirming he wasn’t dreaming, Finamore called his parents – hoteliers who live in Macau – then ran to tell his academic advisor, Ruth McGhee.

McGhee, who wrote Finamore’s recommendation letter, was ecstatic. SMUS has had two other Morehead-Cain scholarship winners in the last five years and “we’re pinching ourselves” over a third, she said.

“It’s a significant award,” McGhee said, adding that each year 70 students receive the award that covers tuition, living expenses, books, summer experiences, a gap year and more.

READ ALSO: SMUS stages Catch Me If You Can, the true tale of a con-artist

Before the winners are chosen, 140 finalists are invited to North Carolina for a “shortlist weekend” in February, Finamore said. The free trip gave him a chance to visit the campus and meet the other “inspiring” candidates.

Finamore is a “very hardworking student,” McGhee said. She added that the Morehead-Cain selection committee looks for students who excel in academics, leadership, character and physical activity.

Finamore “is not just a high achieving kid but a great kid all around,” she said. Aside from achieving high marks, he played soccer, rugby and volleyball, volunteered and took part in the school’s musicals.

“He’s electric on stage,” McGhee said, noting that he performed the lead in the annual musical three times. “He could be on Broadway.”

READ ALSO: St. Michael’s University School students prepare to ‘seize the day’ with Newsies musical

Finamore is also a strong leader, she added. In 2018, through the school’s Me to We club, he started a morning drive-thru for parents dropping off their kids and raised $1,100 for the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. Finamore’s project won him the $2,500 Coast Capital’s Power of Youth award, which he promptly put back into the project to double efforts in 2019.

“Leaders are people who see things that need to get done and go do it – that’s Mark,” McGhee said.

She added that he’s “humble and gracious” and never waves his resume around which she feels drew the selection committee to him.

Finamore plans to study international business with a minor in musical theatre at UNC but first, he’ll take his funded gap year to work and travel.

READ ALSO: St. Michaels introduces new head of school

He and the other Morehead-Cain scholars will also take part in four required summer enrichment programs. The first summer includes a two-month outward-bound program, then a civic collaboration internship in one of 200 cities in North America, then a “global perspectives” summer where students conduct independent research anywhere in the world and finally a professional experience summer with an internship anywhere in the world, Finamore explained.

“I just can’t believe I have so many experiences ahead of me,” he said. “It’s really humbling to know they invest so much money in people they see potential in.”

Finamore’s advice to other students is simple: “be authentic; don’t be afraid, don’t think you’re not good enough.” He recommends that students do things they enjoy instead of trying to pad their resumes.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

SaanichScholarships

Just Posted

News of softwood lumber agreement lost amid COVID crisis

Reduced wood tariffs is a good starting point for a new (long-term) softwood lumber deal

Former Comox hospital turning into Vancouver Island’s first ‘dementia village’

Island Health inks deal to transform St. Joseph’s Hospital into groundbreaking $52.6 million facility

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Eight people arrested on Pandora Avenue after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

‘A bottomless well of love for people and communities’

Parksville Qualicum Beach News editor JR Rardon dies at age 61

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

No one injured in suspicious Victoria boat fire, say investigators

Victoria police and fire personnel called to blaze on waters near Selkirk Trestle May 22

Victoria dealer sells Batmobile replica at Arizona auction

Tim Quocksister sells Batmobile replica for $165,000 US at auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

COVID-19 checkpoints ‘up to them,’ Bonnie Henry says of remote B.C. villages

Support local tourism economy, but only if you’re invited in

Most Read