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Student gets the surprise of a lifetime

Elijah Santos had pretty good grades in high school. He was also a good athlete and was in the choir but he excelled in one particular extracurricular activity — computers. In his spare time, he built custom computers from scratch for his friends. Elijah’s passion for computers led him to apply to SAIT.

“I decided to apply to Information Technology or Electrical Engineering Technology; either one would have been okay, “Elijah said. “ I talked to some friends who graduated from SAIT. They told me they use what they learned in their jobs every day. I liked that a lot. I also liked the idea of a two-year program. I planned to graduate, work for a year, then go to university.”

After being accepted into SAIT’s Information Technology program, his high school guidance counsellor told him about student awards and provided him with an application. He filled it out and a few weeks later he received some fabulous news. He was chosen to receive very special student award – the Bissett Bursary. As a Bissett Bursary recipient, Elijah’s entire SAIT tuition, approximately $15,000, was to be covered over a two-year period.

“I did not expect to get this at all,” he says with a smile. “I was on a waiting list to get into the program. Not only was I accepted as a student, I received the bursary. I was so surprised and excited.“

The Bissett Bursary is available to students attending one of 10 designated Calgary high schools and recipients are chosen based on financial need, community involvement, career planning and academic success in high school. Recipients also receive personalized counselling including a three-day orientation course to help them prepare for the transition from high school to SAIT. Recipients are also matched with an academic coach for several one-on-one meetings to help them stay on track.

Santos, who immigrated to Canada with his father and brother from the Philippines, says his dad was extremely excited that he was chosen for the bursary and proud that he is going to SAIT.