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Caleb Small up to big things in the classroom

Bear Creek graduate one of four Ontario recipients awarded scholarships valued at up to $28,000; He learned French during the pandemic, then added some Hindi and Greek, too
Bear Creek Secondary School graduate Caleb Small was one of four Ontario recipients awarded scholarships valued at up to $28,000.

As Caleb Small begins his post-secondary education this fall, it is with the support of several awards and scholarships that will help pave the way to a future career in medicine.

The most recent was the 2022 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award. The Bear Creek Secondary School grad was one of four Ontario recipients awarded scholarships valued at up to $28,000. Seventeen students received the award from across Canada.

“I saw the scholarship and applied in November (2021),” says Small, who has participated in Terry Fox runs with his school in the past.

The award recognizes young humanitarians who have demonstrated courage and determination through academic, athletic, and civic life. Whether it was a passion for helping others in need or demonstrating perseverance in the face of adversity, it honours the values, goals, and legacy that Terry Fox held, says John Kearsey, chairperson of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.

Currently in its 40th year, more than 900 young people have received the award over the years.

In 2021, more than 500 students applied for it. They represented a wide range of challenges and interests from mental health to education access, refugee integration, child welfare, environmental action, medical and health research, or aboriginal rights, as well as advocating for youth.

Small's life has touched on many areas. One of his interests is translation work for Francophone Africa, which ranged from business meetings to job interviews. Most of it was from English to French, a language he decided to learn during the pandemic. Then he added a bit of Hindi and Greek.

“I found it really fun to do it,” says Small, who used the Duolingo App to learn the languages, setting a goal of one lesson a day. He served as a translator for refugees with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and Refugee and Indigenous Projects Volunteer for the New Churches Network with a specific passion for mental health support.

He likens learning a new language to music, which is another interest. He enjoys playing several different instruments from bass guitar to trumpet. He also enjoys a wide range of genres from jazz to Christian music. He and a friend formed a trio, adding other players from time to time, and played at Mapleview Community Church as well as other local churches.

At school, he participated in band and was considered to be a leader within the music department.

Growing up, Small played a lot of rep hockey and is thinking of getting involved in intermural sports at university, depending on how much time he has.

His interest in mental health grew out of a family member’s struggle with anorexia. His interest in medicine, and in particular neurosurgery, also came from a family member who has a brain tumour. Small is looking at specializing in treatments for tumours and cancers of the brain.

To that end, he has a lot of education ahead of him. Receiving a $60,000 scholarship from the University of Calgary will go a long way to taking him through the first step, a four-year biomedical sciences degree.