A Tatlayoko Lake student fromĀ Lake City Secondary will be off to Toronto at the end of this month to find out if he will earn a Loran Award valued at $100,000 over four years for undergraduate studies.

Ryder Mason has been named a national finalist after being nominated by his school and having gone through a day of regional interviews in Kelowna.

“I approached my scholarship teacher and she said that she would sponsor me for it so I went ahead and did it,” Mason said.

“I got chosen as a semi-finalist for the regional interviews and that was back in November. They were a lot of fun and it was amazing to get the call that I was one of the 88 finalists.”

As well as being a member of the grad council executive, Mason volunteers twice a week at Deni House and has started a program that teaches at-risk First Nation youths the art of blacksmithing. He says he’s hoping to attend UBC Okanagan for his first few years of studies with the goal of eventually getting into law.

“The volunteering at Deni House started out as being a work experience form for filling out for school but I just really ended up liking it and everyone there really liked me so I just continued on,” Mason said.

“And the blacksmithing one, my parents are both blacksmiths and it’s always been a part of my life and we live around a lot of reserves, I just thought it would be a nice thing to do.”

On its website, the Loran Scholars Foundation says every year it sees over 5,000 applicants and selects up to 34 promising young Canadians as Loran Scholars, based on evidence of integrity, courage, compassion, grit and a high level of personal autonomy.

“They’ve been very excited because I’m the first student from the school to go to the finals so everyone is really excited and proud of me,” Mason said of the support from his school and also family.

“It would mean all the financial burden lifted from me and my family, and it would be just amazing to be a Loran Scholar too.”

If not selected as a Loran Scholar, Mason is eligible to receive a $5,000 finalist award.