Kaya Maracle of Severn is the 2021 recipient of the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Foundation’s $2,000 Reid Family Scholarship.
Started in 2005 through the generosity of the late Mr. and Mrs. William Reid of Oro Station, the scholarship is intended for students in Orillia and area entering into a field of health study in a recognized Canadian post-secondary institution. The scholarship is meant to assist the Hospital in recruiting new healthcare professionals, while at the same time assisting deserving students in their education.
A recent graduate of Patrick Fogarty Secondary School, Maracle is heading to Kingston, Ontario to pursue studies in Kinesiology. With plans for a future in chiropractic or sports medicine, Maracle is entering her first year of undergraduate studies this fall at Queen’s University.
“My passion for sports has naturally influenced my interest in the human body and its biomechanics,” shared Maracle, who is an elite athlete in her own right, having played on the U19 Haudenosaunee Women’s Lacrosse Team in the 2019 World Championship. “My desire is to help amateur and professional athletes become successful in their area of athletic discipline.”
Off the field, Maracle has proven to be a top-notch academic, volunteer and burgeoning entrepreneur, founding her own online beaded jewellery and accessories company, Solana Kreations. Through her beadwork, she aims to “promote and showcase Indigenous culture.” The move to Kingston brings Maracle closer to her home community of Tyendinaga, where she currently volunteers as a media and event coordinator on the youth council.
As a member of the Reid Family Scholarship Committee, Soldiers’ Foundation Executive Director, Mark Riczu noted that selecting the award recipient is never easy. “Every year, we have a hard time choosing a winner but this year was exceptionally difficult,” said Riczu. “Many of the applicants were worthy of this award and in the end, we narrowed it down to three great candidates and ultimately Kaya was the lucky winner.”
Of her scholarship award, Maracle said, “It is a lot of money and helps alleviate my expenses. I hope it also provides an example and inspires both on- and off-reserve Indigenous youth.”