Manitoba

'World-changing things' expected from 16-year-old Winnipegger who won $100K scholarship

A 16-year-old student at Winnipeg's St. John's High School won a coveted $100,000 scholarship to study engineering, and her guidance counsellor who nominated her for the award says it couldn't have gone to a more deserving person. 

Darlene Sofia Cuevas wins prestigious Schulich Leaders Scholarship to study biosystems engineering

Darlene Sofia Cuevas is very grateful to have received a $100,000 scholarship to study engineering in the fall. (CBC)

A 16-year-old student at Winnipeg's St. John's High School won a coveted $100,000 scholarship to study engineering, and her guidance counsellor who nominated her for the award says it couldn't have gone to a more deserving person. 

Darlene Sofia Cuevas is one of 100 recipients of prestigious Schulich Leaders scholarships, which are given to undergraduate students studying science, technology, engineering and math.

Cuevas remembers getting a call from the organization and thinking it was for an impromptu interview.

"I just remember my body started really shaking and after the call I just broke down crying and I felt really grateful," she told CBC Manitoba TV news host Janet Stewart on Wednesday.

The scholarships are given on the basis of academic excellence, leadership, creativity and charisma, all of which Cuevas has in spades, her guidance counsellor says.

WATCH | Darlene Sofia Cuevas 'so excited' to start university thanks to $100K scholarship:

16-year-old Winnipeg student wins $100K scholarship

CBC News Manitoba

1 month ago
8:15
Darlene Sofia Cuevas is excited to start studying biosystems engineering at the U of M in September, thanks to the Schulich Leaders scholarship. 8:15

"There's something about Darlene that I don't have a word for, that's a very, very special quality.… Just something bright on the horizon to see what Darlene will do with her life and with her gifts, which are many," Phoebe Proven said.

"I am just so excited to see what Darlene chooses to do in the future. I think we're going to see some world-changing things."

Cuevas plans to study biosystems engineering at the University of Manitoba and is very excited to start studying, albeit virtually for now.

The foundation that awards the scholarships also gives strong consideration to students with financial need.

Cuevas says she was considering financial aid if scholarships didn't pan out.

"I've applied to about 20 scholarships and I didn't get 19 of those, it was all rejections. My last resort was, truly, a student loans. Now I think I don't need to apply for any student loans," she said.

Cuevas' family immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 2019, and don't have the money to put her through school, she said.

Proven remembers when she first came to St. John's.

"Within a week of Darlene coming to our school I had high school teachers coming down to my office saying, 'Have you met this new student? I think there's something really here. We've got a really special student here,'" she said.

Cuevas graduates in two weeks and will start university in September.

More from CBC Manitoba:

With files from Janet Stewart

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