Love of her heritage funds studies
Alexandra Finnbogason, an 18-year-old Royalwood resident and first-year student at the University of Manitoba, was one of this year’s recipients of the Mark & Dorothy Danzker scholarship offered by Folkorama and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.
“Being Scottish has been a huge part of my life,” Finnbogason said. “My grandma and aunt played the bagpipes, my mom and aunt are Scottish dance teachers, and my whole family has been a part of Folklorama’s Scottish pavilion since before I was born.”
Finnbogason is a member of the Ena Sutton Highland Dancers, which performs annually at the pavilion and other events. She learned about the scholarship from a fellow dancer who received it last year, although she had a second, stronger reason for applying.
“My grandpa is a past-president of Folklorama, so I thought it would be neat to be a part of the same thing he’s a huge part of and know that he would be proud of me,” she said.
The Danzker scholarship is an annual award of excellence for ethno-cultural heritage preservation, honouring the memory of philanthropist and former Winnipeg city councillor Mark Danzker and his wife, Dorothy. While the Danzkers did not have children of their own, they were very active in the community, according to Folklorama’s website.
Other awards Finnbogason has received include an entrance award from the University of Manitoba, the Victor and Marie Wyatt student bursary and the St. Vital/St. Boniface/Norwood Retired Teachers and Support Staff Association bursary. Her studies are focused on the sciences and she had planned to go into genetics but is also considering business. She aims to maintain a 4.0 GPA, which would also earn her the U of M’s President’s Scholar award.
Finnbogason describes herself as a typical first-year university student, “working my way through all the studying and anxiety, but I also live another life outside of school which is full of Scottish dance lessons and competitions.”
Her advice to other students is to balance studying with taking time to have fun. She is grateful for the scholarship and her Scottish heritage.
“My culture brings my whole family together in ways that some people don’t get to experience so it’s very important to me to be able to preserve this, so I can pass on everything to my future family.”
Royalwood community correspondent
Tanya Misseghers is a community correspondent for Royalwood.