This year's graduating class has a lot to worry about, especially when it comes to paying for post-secondary education. 

But not 17-year-old Kelvin High School student Hannah Lank. 

She's is now a Loran Scholar and has received one of the country's largest awards based on her character, service and leadership.

Growing up Lank had to deal with more than just the normal kid problems. She has an allergy to tree nuts which made everyday life more difficult. She even educated her peers on the risks of food allergies. 

Now, her lifelong efforts have been rewarded. 

loran award

Hannah Lank and co-president, Dale Diamond-Burchuk address the Kelvin High School student council. (CBC)

She was chosen from a pool of close to 4,000 students and is now one of 30 students nation-wide who have received 
a Loran award. 

It is worth up to $100,000 in tuition, living expenses, summer programs, and even setting her up with a mentor. 
Lank is also part of Team Allerject, which is a group of teens from across the country who bring awareness to food allergy bullying. 

For the past two years shes talked with Grade 9 students about food allergies, how to use auto injectors, and answered questions. So far, she's educated over 900 students. 

"I took my food allergy bullying experience, turned it into something that I really took hold of and started educating people. My allergies gave me an opportunity to be part of a national panel, and all these different opportunities that I wouldn't have had otherwise," she said. "Try to look for the good in any situation you're in and it could really change your life."


Hannah Lank said winning the Loran award encourages her to explore her potential to "do more good." (Sara Calnek/CBC)

The Loran Foundation chose her not only because of her work with food allergy awareness, but also because of all the other activities she participates in. Lank is student council president, she ran the school newspaper for three years, she's in cross country and basketball, and she's active in the community. 

Lank said winning the award is encouraging. 

"They're also looking for future potential, I think that's really what Loran is investing in. So I'm just really glad that they saw something in me, that I have the potential to do more good. It's also kind of a responsibility because you have been invested in so I just want to keep doing what I'm doing and see where my path leads," she said. 

Lank said she's interested in attending either McMaster or Queen's University, or the University of Toronto.

She's interested in both arts and sciences. She believes the scholarship has changed her future.

"I may still have gone to McMaster, for example, without the scholarship, but it would've been very expensive so I would have been left with a lot of student debt. I would have had to worry about how I'm going to pay for all this, and I wouldn't have the time to focus on extra-curricular [activities] and being involved and having all these new opportunities," she said. "The scholarship is truly invaluable, it's amazing. I mean it's $100,000 but it's way more than that, it's a lifetime of experiences."

This isn't the first time a Kelvin High School student had been on the receiving end of such a prestigious award. One of last year's recipients was also from the high school. 

Lank said that doesn't surprise her.

"I think Kelvin is an amazing school and I really have to give my experience here and my teachers a lot of credit for helping me to get this far," she said. "I've been provided with so many opportunities, trips, new ways of thinking, teachers, that I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else. I think we have something good going here and I'm very grateful to have had the chance to go to Kelvin."