(Edmonton, AB) - The Edmonton Oilers Alumni are excited to announce the 2018 recipients of the Al Hamilton Scholarship: Irina Ilic and Andrew Li, both of Edmonton, AB. Established in 2001, the Al Hamilton Scholarship is awarded annually to students from Northern Alberta who excel in academics, athletics and community service. Recipients receive $2,000 per school year to a maximum of $8,000 over four years.
Al Hamilton, the first captain in Oilers history, wore the 'C' for four seasons in the World Hockey Association (WHA) and excelled as a defenceman and leader. As an integral and founding member of the Oilers Alumni Association, Hamilton has consistently given back to the city that cheered him on through his playing career. It is these core values that the scholarship was founded on. When Hamilton's #3 Oilers jersey was retired, his fellow Alumni created the scholarship in his name and it has since helped many deserving students further their education.
"Each year, I am more and more impressed by the accomplishments of the students applying for this scholarship," said Hamilton. "Our youth continue to show that the future is bright and this year's recipients truly reflect that. Their passion for education and their communities are second to none. I look forward to watching their academic careers grow and seeing how they continue to give back to their communities through University and beyond."
Irina Ilic knows the definition of perseverance and devotion, two words that have become essential to her outlook on life. A recent graduate of M.E. Lazerte High School, Irina immigrated to Canada at a young age. Watching her parents word hard to establish a new life in Edmonton, showed Irina an example to live by. She strives to better herself every day, whether it be in her chosen sports of basketball, volleyball and handball or in the dance classes she helps lead in her community. Her dedication to her teams and activities has been recognized through awards such as athlete of the year accolades at her high school for two consecutive years, as well as achieving honours with distinction in her academics. Outside of her high school, Irina is a dedicated dance teacher who assists with leading cultural dance classes in her community. In all her achievements, Irina always works to pass on the valuable lessons she has learned from her parents, hard work and perseverance. Irina has a passion for math and science and will be pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at the University of Alberta in the Fall of 2018 with the hopes of achieving a degree in Biomedical Engineering.
"When the phone rang and Al Hamilton appeared on the caller ID, I could not believe my eyes. Although I yearned to be the recipient of this award, I was still shocked and honoured when Mr. Hamilton delivered the news to me. To the say the least, I am eternally grateful and privileged to be a recipient of the Al Hamilton Scholarship. Receiving this award serves as a motivation to work even harder, achieve my goals, and hopefully support another student, like me, in the future," said Ilic.
Andrew Li is a recent graduate from Old Scona Academic High School where he was a prominent member of the Student's Union as the Vice President, Internal, ensuring fellow students had new learning experiences and assisting in giving back to the community through several initiatives and programs. Andrew also served as a Student Senator with the Edmonton Public School Board, where he was named Chairman of the Executive Council in 2017-18 and was actively involved in two key sub-committees: Life beyond Schooling and Student Mental Health. When he isn't committing himself to community building, Andrew is an active athlete. An avid hockey player from a young age, a sudden injury impeded his progress in the sport, but he quickly picked up a new sport he was capable of participating in, swimming. In swimming, Andrew found a new passion for competition and in a short amount of time advanced on his high school team, improving his skills and establishing himself as a leader amongst his peers. Andrew will be pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in the Fall of 2018.
"It is an immense honour to be named a recipient of such an amazing award named after one of hockeys greatest," said Li. "To continue Mr. Hamilton's legacy of community service is one I am committed to continuing for many years to come."
For more information on the Al Hamilton Scholarship and how to apply next spring, visit EdmontonOilers.com.