St. Augustine student defies the odds while setting the bar

Shelby Waknuk was one of only 60 students to gain early final admission to the University of Alberta.

Shelby Waknuk was one of only 60 students to gain early final admission to the University of Alberta.


Four thousand applied, 60 were accepted and one was from Ponoka.

Shelby Waknuk wasn’t sure she would be accepted when she applied for early final admission to the faculty of science program at the University of Alberta but she had good reason to be confident with her 90 plus average throughout Grade 12 at St. Augustine School.

“I worked really hard all year and I made sure I really understood everything that we were learning in class. I also wanted to make sure I kept my marks up so I had an opportunity to get scholarships and make it a lot easier to go to university,” said Waknuk.

The 17-year-old is excited about the prospect of university. She has already registered for a room in residence on campus and knows what she wants to do when she gets there.

“I’m going to be taking my bachelor of science and then I hope to get into medicine,” said Waknuk, admitting she’d like to become a doctor. “I really want to help people and give back and I think medicine would be a great way to do that.”

Waknuk said her mom, Deanna, and dad, Dwayne, supported her in her academic pursuits and she said it was fun to see how proud they were of her.

“They told the principal about it,” she said with a chuckle.

The biggest draw for Waknuk seemed to be the chance to help others. Those pursuits may take her around the world but she said small communities are going to be a part of her future.

“I saw a lot of advertisements about people going overseas and helping out and I thought I really want to do that. I want to make a difference in someone else’s life,” said Waknuk. “If I didn’t come back to Ponoka I think I’d always try to stay in a small town setting,”

In her acceptance letter, U of A senior associate dean Dr. Brenda Leskiw states, “You are part of an elite group of students and I am convinced that you will make important contributions to our faculty during your years at the University of Alberta.”