A high school student from Manning is hoping a summer program will give students like herself the opportunity to attend it in-person next year. Kara Walisser was set to attend the program this year before it was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The SHAD Canada program gives students a chance to visit 19 universities across the country to see what’s offered. The participants gain experience in their potential future field through workshops and labs.

Kara is in grade 11 but will be in grade 12 the next time the program is offered. It stopped allowing grade 12 students to apply this year.

While Kara agrees with the decision to cancel the program due to recent world events, she’s hopeful her batch of applicants will be allowed to participate in the future. She has created an online petition lobbying for SHAD to allow grade 11 students to have the opportunity to attend their in-person program.

Living in a small town makes the opportunity to visit potential campuses difficult. Kara, who plans on studying to become a doctor, knows her future will rely heavily on her schooling. She believes the SHAD program would help her explore educational opportunities.

“You meet so many people, SHAD alumni, who can help you get into different programs [and] get different internships. It’s just really disappointing to not get that whole network of people.”

While they won’t be able to travel the country in person, accepted students have received a statement from SHAD stating online programming will become available for them.

“Lots of people are sending me messages asking what they can do to help. It’s been remarkable seeing the support of the current SHAD community; we have got a lot of alumni support as well.”

Walisser’s petition has received just over 3,000 signatures in three days.

MyGrandePrairieNow.com has reached out to SHAD Canada for comment.