Hunter Kelly recognized for work with foster youth, fundraising in Uganda

Early in August the University of Ottawa issued its first Alex Trebek Leadership Award to Hunter Kelly, a graduate of the Faculty of Education. The $10,000 prize recognizes the academic and community achievements of an outstanding graduating student.

The award is funded by U of O alum and Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek, who also funds the Alex Trebek Distinguished Lecture series and the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue at the university.

“I was completely honoured and shocked when I found out I got the award. It was sent through email and I probably read the email eight times,” said Kelly. “I couldn’t even believe it.”

Kelly was recognized for her local volunteer work with foster children in the Ottawa community and her international volunteer work in Uganda this past April.

“For the past nine years, I have worked with five foster teens,” Kelly said. “We do activities together and I take on a mentor and parental role for them.”

In addition to her volunteer work with foster teens, Kelly travelled to Uganda this past April to teach at a Boys and Girls Club for two weeks. The trip, which was organized through the U of O’s Faculty of Education, comprised of Kelly and two other student volunteers who raised $8,000 for the Agnes Zabali Boys and Girls Club, along with school supplies.

Kelly says that she is thankful for the award because it has allowed her to better prepare for  a career in education by financing additional qualifications, and pay off student loans.

Kelly is currently on the supply teacher list for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and will begin teaching in September.

The Alex Trebek Leadership Award is open to all undergraduate students graduating in the winter semester. Students must demonstrate academic excellence and have distinguished themselves through volunteering and community service activities or initiatives.

“The biggest piece of advice I have for students is to apply,” said Kelly. “When I applied, I had no idea I would be selected. I thought that there was probably someone else who was better suited, but you miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”