Hello Owen Sounders! My name is Magnus Roland Marun. I am a grade 12 student at St. Mary’s High School and was recently named a finalist to become a Loran Scholar. I am honoured to represent my school as our first Loran finalist. And grateful for the support of my school community which has been foundational for my learning. The selections process has been an amazing experience, bringing together 72 Loran finalists from coast to coast to coast for National Selections over Zoom.

The Loran Scholars Foundation is truly inspiring in its motivation to make a long-term investment in the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Selection as a Loran Scholar would entail financial support, extensive mentorship, and summer internships to broaden my horizons while gaining significant work experience in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Selection as a Loran Scholar would be incredibly meaningful and impactful on my lifelong journey.

Being passionate about the environment, interested in issues facing our society, and fascinated by science, I plan to study biology at university. Research in ecology, evolution, and genetics is particularly of interest to me. I have applied to several Canadian universities, including my top choices, the University of Toronto, and the University of British Columbia. The Loran selections process has helped inform me about opportunities and strategies for success in university while affording me a clearer vision for my future.

I am an academically motivated student, however, my learning does not stop when I leave the classroom. As a robotics team member at my school, I have competed in FIRST and VEX Robotics competitions, locally and provincially. FIRST and VEX Robotics involve intense competition while building important STEM skills. Success in the FIRST Robotics Competition hinges upon incredible teamwork, communication, and innovation, as well as our donor, Hobart’s, and our teacher-mentors Mr. Varsava and Mr. Murphy. It has been amazing to work with peers to create and innovate as a team. As a FIRST Alumni, I have learned that with a vision and with confidence, I can create my own future.

Our school Envirothon team has competed in Envirothon Ontario competitions that involve students in learning and discovery of the natural sciences. While STEM is a major focus for me, I am also a filmmaker. My most recent film, Shutdown, documents the external changes in our community during the early COVID-19 pandemic in an eerie montage depicting the isolation and emptiness of post-pandemic Owen Sound. The film featured in the Grey Bruce Youth Film Festival, winning first place in what was a virtual screening in 2020. My 2019 poem, “Lake Effect” won first place in senior poetry in the annual Write @ Your Library competition and was subsequently published in Mosaic Magazine.

As a member of the Teen Advisory Group (TAG) at the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library, I have worked with other students to develop and implement youth programs. As a frequent patron of library programs, I enjoy giving back through my involvement in TAG. TAG members meet monthly, with librarian Nadia Danyluk, to brainstorm ideas, plan programs, and volunteer to impact youth at the library.

I enjoy playing the highland bagpipes with the Wiarton McLaren Pipe Band. I have been learning the instrument for a year-and-a-half thanks to the instruction of Pipe Major Chris MacDougald. I enjoy exploring Grey Bruce’s natural beauty, hiking the Bruce Trail, and kayaking, with my family. I worked as a pool lifeguard with the YMCA team until being laid off due to COVID-19. From Lil’ Dippers to National Lifeguard, I have come to appreciate the smell of chlorine in the morning.

With the National Selection interviews behind me, I look forward to hearing the results and wish my fellow Loran finalists the best of luck as we all move forward with future endeavours.