WELLINGTON COUNTY – Now in its 17th year, the Municipal Retirees Organization of Ontario (MROO) announced the recipients of its annual Student Scholarship Program. The program, which has been running since 2004, distributed a total of $99,000 in 72 scholarships to second-year students across the province.
The not-for-profit organization, established in 1977, advocates and supports the rights of Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System (OMERS) retirees.
MROO is divided into nine zones across Ontario with zone directors responsible for each region.
Recipients were determined based on the number of applicants and specific eligibility criteria, including the students’ leadership skills, volunteer experience and commitment to making a difference in their communities.
Recipients must also have a familial relationship to a MROO lifetime member.
Zone three, which includes the Waterloo, Halton, Wellington, Hamilton, Niagara and Brant regions, awarded 17 MROO scholarships to local post-secondary students.
“MROO is all about supporting our local members and through the Student Scholarship program we are able to encourage the next generation of students and help them achieve their goals,” zone three director Giulio Di Bacco said in a Sept. 28 MROO press release.
“For the past 17 years the MROO Student Scholarship program has supported our members and their families. It’s a great program.”
MROO distributed $18,500 in student scholarships to relatives of MROO members in the zone.
Jamie-Leigh Jennings, from Elora, was among the recipients to receive a scholarship from the program.
Jennings received $500 in scholarship funds to go towards her post-secondary studies at Nippissing University where she is currently enrolled in the concurrent education program with a focus in criminology.
Jennings heard about the program through her grandmother who worked at the Wellington Terrace in Fergus.
Once she completes her studies, Jennings said she’s hoping to be a teacher or work with victims of crime, noting “I’m not exactly sure yet but I still have lots of time to figure it out.
“It’ll be nice because this year I’m doing my more in-depth classes so I’ll be able to figure out what I want to do more.”
Jennings said she feels really honoured to receive the award, and that it came as unexpected when she found out.
“Right now, I’m just focusing on school,” Jennings said when asked what her plans are for the remainder of her studies.
“My classes are very busy but I’m hoping to get involved next year in playing ringette at school… so I think it will be good to have a nice balance.”
Hillsburgh resident Matthew Miller was also among those to receive a $500 scholarship from the program.
Miller is also studying at Nippissing University where he’s enrolled in the concurrent education program with a major in history.
Miller, currently in his second year, is looking to become a teacher with a focus on elementary education. He said he learned about the program through his aunt who worked under the branch of MROO and applied as soon as he could.
“It’s a huge help because $500 is a lot for someone around my age so it’s helping me pay off school,” he explained, adding “every little bit helps.”
“I plan to get through and hopefully get back up to North Bay once COVID’s hopefully over,” Miller said on his plans for the remainder of his studies.
“I’ll finish up my concurrent education in six years, I think,” he added. “The first four will be getting one degree which is in history and then I’ll go into teacher’s college afterwards if my grades are high enough… so just getting good grades is my plan.”
To learn more about MROO, visit www.mroo.org.