One of the first things third-year economics student Kieran Slobodin packed when he was preparing to come to Queen’s two years ago was his hard-cover copy of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. After all, Queen’s had sent it to him in the first place.
As a Grade 8 student entering Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory in 2003, Mr. Slobodin was selected to receive a Queen’s University Book Prize. The pilot program had been launched that year to recognize students progressing from a Canadian elementary or middle school to high school, who demonstrate superior academic performance combined with extracurricular activities and who show leadership and citizenship. Students, selected by their principal, receive the prize to foster an ambition to pursue university studies.
Now well-thumbed after years of use, Mr. Slobodin's dictionary has a place of honour in his Deutsch Centre office, where he holds the position of Academic Affairs Commissioner. He was excited to meet University Registrar Jo-Anne Brady, who had signed the letter of congratulations that accompanied his prize.
At home in the Yukon, Mr. Slobodin had worked in soup kitchens and for charities, but “coming to Queen’s there were a lot more volunteer opportunities,” he says. “After being involved in high school, it was a logical thing to continue at university, especially with the range of areas for volunteering here.” Mr. Slobodin, whose potential was recognized by the Book Prize, soon became involved in the Alma Mater Society. A major reason for choosing Queen’s, he says, was its reputation for being a community as well as a school.
“Our hope in presenting these books is that many of the recipients will ultimately go on to university – and that some will eventually end up at Queen’s,” says Ms Brady. “Kieran exemplifies the type of leadership and citizenship which the award celebrates. It’s a pleasure to welcome him and other Book Prize recipients to Queen’s.”
Approximately 100 Queen’s book prizes are awarded each year, administered and funded by the Office of the University Registrar. Inside each book is a tricolor card, inscribed by Principal Daniel Woolf.
“The kids are really impressed by that!” says Merry Horton, of the Registrar’s Office.