From $0 to $140,500: Leyton’s Success Story

Leyton’s goals were to win big ticket-scholarships to pursue university and make his immigrant parents proud. Learn how he navigated the scholarship process and won over $140,500.

Blog written by Leyton Vergeire

To other students, summer is synonymous with relaxation and the occasional sunbathing. For me in Grade 11, it was the prime time to get a head start with the university application process. Although I was unsure what university I wanted to attend, one thing was for certain: I wanted to win scholarships. Big ones.

My family has continually experienced financial hardships, so winning scholarships was the get-out-of-jail-free card I desperately wanted to earn.

I also wanted to make my parents proud. I wanted them to know that their sacrifices for our family to immigrate to Canada were worth every penny. 

However, I encountered problems in pursuit of this goal. I was completely unorganized, clueless on where to find scholarships, and incapable of staying committed to tasks. Pair these issues with my status as an IB student, I knew that pushing my scholarship applications down my priority list was inevitable.

However, joining GrantMe’s Academy program was an investment that helped me achieve my educational goals. I turned my prior insecurities into my current strengths. 

When I submitted my first essay draft to GrantMe’s editing team, I felt confident that I would receive pampered comments that praised my wordsmithing. Nothing could have prepared me (or my pride) for the wall of comments, grammar adjustments, and format changes on the document. Forget “editing” my essay—it was a whole rehaul!

With the tendency to emotionally invest with my words, I felt frustrated with the number of edits I needed to make. Doubt crept into my mind, which made me believe I had no chance to win this and future scholarships. To be honest, this experience put me on the brink of quitting. However, I knew that my family depended on me to persevere.

Although it took some time, I realized this feedback was necessary to improve my writing.

The essay edits were a humbling experience, but it was the cornerstone of my success with scholarships.

Another struggle I encountered was setting time to attend mentorship calls and reading through the program modules. Even though I punished myself for my lack of commitment, I still had to focus on my academics. One day, I was in the middle of studying in the library when I got a notification for a mentorship call that was starting soon. Since I was on my study break, I figured “why not?”. From this call alone, I learned how to hack Google Calendar as an effective time management tool and the importance of accountability.

Drawn into the discussions in these mentorship calls, I evolved into a more responsible student.

It was a snowball effect—I became motivated to calls the more I attended them.

Without these learning curves, I would have retained my ineffective methods to juggle my academic commitments and desire to win scholarships. Carrying that routine to university would have been more of a burden than a solution to retaining my focus in my studies. Furthermore, financing my tuition, accommodation, and educational resources no longer became a concern.

With my total winnings of $140,500 worth of Canadian scholarships, I can focus on continuing my passion for healthcare at the University of Alberta.

I no longer have to worry my family with the cost of attending university. 

Knowing that I made my parents proud was a rewarding feeling.  When I told them this good news a few weeks ago, I teared up. They told me that they were proud of me from the very beginning of my journey.

To those students who want to invest in their future (or simply want to make their parents proud), fight through the inconveniences life will throw at you.

See your obstacles as learning opportunities rather than reasons to give up. What you achieve at the end of your journey will amaze you.


Leyton Vergeire is a 2020 GrantMe Academy program alumnus and a current GrantMe Mentor.

If you want to achieve success like Leyton, GrantMe can help. We provide personalized scholarship matches, essay editing, and mentorship from past winners to maximize your success. Complete our short scholarship eligibility quiz to learn more about how GrantMe can help you achieve your post-secondary goals.

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