Shelley Adams photo/SJHS

Tyler Adams, Saint John teen, named a 2016 Currie Scholar

by Sarah Trainor, - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

This article is courtesy of CBC News

A Saint John high school student, who was raised by a single teenage mother and achieved a 97 per cent average, has landed a $65,000 scholarship.

Tyler Adams is one of five students from the Maritimes awarded a Currie Scholarship - one of the most generous undergraduate scholarships available in Canada - to attend the University of New Brunswick.

"The opportunities are limitless, knowing I won't have the financial debt," said Adams, who is enrolled in the bachelor of science in kinesiology program (BScKin). "University is one of the biggest burdens, the biggest debts most young people have."

But the scholarship is about more than just the money, Adams said Wednesday in an interview on CBC's Information Morning Saint John.

"I would rather have this than $100,000 in pure cash. The meaning behind it makes it what it is," he said. "It's the reputation and work you've had to do up until this point."

'It doesn't matter where you come from, you can do anything you want to do.'- Tyler Adams

Adams was recognized for his work ethic and school involvement - he holds a 97 per cent average and performs on the track and soccer teams at Saint John High School.

He also has overcome some obstacles to reach this achievement. His mother was just 15 when Adams was born, and raised him as a single parent.

"Little things like transportation and fees would be tough for my mom to do. She managed to do everything to find a way to get it done," he said.

"She always put food on our table, always kept a roof over our head … It's given me motivation to do better, and shows it doesn't matter where you come from, you can do anything you want to do."

Money challenges

His mother, Shelley Adams, says she's been waiting for this day to come, "where you raise your child and they come back to you and say, 'You know what, thanks Mom.'"

She says she didn't receive much support from her family as a teenage mom, and learned to become resourceful on her own.

"When we went away on tournaments, we used to call hotels ahead of time and ask if there was a way to help us out. The school's been great, guidance counsellors have been helpful because you've got grad fees and different school fees. It doesn't hurt to ask," she said.

"I'm overwhelmed with his accomplishments. To say, 'I can raise a child and do it by myself,' and raise a successful child … I never thought I'd be here, being where we're at."

Her son has always shown an aptitude for school, she said.

"He always learned the stuff, he didn't just memorize it. We taught him to learn it. He's always had pride in school too."

The Currie Scholarships were established by Richard Currie, Chancellor Emeritus at UNB. The university calls him its greatest living benefactor.

Currie is credited with leading the Loblaws supermarket chain through 25 years of growth, and leaving it with a market value of $15 billion. But before he entered corporate life, he studied at UNB with the help of a Beaverbrook Scholarship.

The Currie Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills inside and outside the classroom.

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