Congratulations to Billy-Ray Belcourt, the 2012 St. Andrew’s School Valedictorian who was recently named one of three Canadian Rhodes scholars from the University of Alberta, and one of eleven in Canada. Belcourt is also the first ever First Nations recipient of a Rhodes scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world. The scholarship allows Belcourt to pursue his master’s degree at Oxford University beginning next fall.
“We at St. Andrew’s School are so proud of Billy’s outstanding accomplishment,” said St. Andrew’s School Principal Marc Lamoureux. “We hope that Billy’s achievement will inspire other students to pursue their dreams just as passionately. Billy has always had an innate understanding of the importance of lifelong learning and a strong interest in helping those around him. As such, he led by example. We are so proud that he has become a leader in his university community and now the international community.”
Belcourt grew up on the Driftpile Cree Nation reserve and attended St. Andrew’s School in High Prairie. He currently serves as president of the U of A Aboriginal Students’ Association and as youth facilitator for the Native Youth Sexual Health Network. Belcourt is currently a comparative literature student in the Faculty of Arts, and plans to pursue his master of science or master of philosophy at Oxford University. According to a media release from the University of Alberta, he wants to study the effects of colonialism on the health of Indigenous people in Canada.
About the rigorous two day selection process for the scholarship: “I also argued in my application that this wasn’t just about me-it was for my community and for all Indigenous people in Canada to be able to see someone like them winning something like this,” said Belcourt in a media release from the University of Alberta.