Four LCCVI students join the ranks of the Nicol Scholars


Julianne Breen, Lily Cardiff, Mitchel Crombeen, and Marlee Darrach are the newest LCCVI students to join a very prestigious list as Nicol Scholars.

The four graduating students were honoured June 24 and presented with the $10,000 US grant to help pay for their education.

Breen, Cardiff, Crombeen and Darrach join 380 students who have been recognized for excellence in education and community service by the Nicol Foundation since it began.

Twenty-eight years ago a former Petrolia resident named Harold Robert Nicol set up a private foundation to give away his life savings after he passed away. Although he lived in Florida, he wanted to help his hometown.

So, the Nicol’s Scholarship began. Students apply for the $10,000 grant and are evaluated by a panel of four, which includes the mayor of Petrolia, the principal of LCCVI, the Catholic priest at St. Philip’s and the canon of Christ Anglican Church in Petrolia.

“Everyone honoured here today is at the very top of the class and demonstrate excellence outside of the classroom as well,” says Principal Linda Jared, noting 23 people applied for the scholarships this year. “To be Nicol Scholars, students have to show growth throughout high school and we have to see the potential for more growth.”

Cardiff, who has been active in the arts in Petrolia as a part of the Lambton Youth Choir and the Lambton Young Theatre Players, is honoured to join the ranks of Nicol Scholars. “It’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work put in over the years,” she says. “It’s quite an honour.

Cardiff will be attending Ryerson University to study Theatre Production.

Crombeen is headed east as well, attending the University of Waterloo to study nano technology. “I always heard about (the Nicol Scholarship) and it is an honour to be one of the people selected. It’s a big achievement for me.”

Breen, from Alvinston, agreed. “Its such an honour to be part of such a great group of kids who have done so much in our school and our community,” she says. Breen – who was a constant presence in the LCCVI music department – will attend Western University for Music.

And Darrach, who excelled in sport at LCCVI and was active in the Athletics Association and Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving, says is pleased to be included in the group saying once students reach Grade 12, they recognize the importance and honour attached to the scholarship.

Elise Chambers, the pastor of Christ Church in Petrolia and a member of the selection team, says she is constantly amazed by the work young people are doing in the community.

“What you guys do matters…you are all called to do your best; it does make a difference in this world.”

Darrach first second generation Nicol Scholar    

It has come full circle.

For the first time in the 28-year history of the Nicol Scholarships, the daughter of a Nicol Scholar has claimed the prize.n-nicol-mother-daugher

Marlee Darrach was one of the four 2015 scholars. In 1987-88, her mother, Lydia, won the honour.

Lydia Darrach used the $10,000 US scholarship to cover the entire cost of her education at the University of Western Ontario where she studied actuary science. “It helped a lot – $10,000 went a lot further back then,” she says. “I never, ever had to pay for anything. I came away from university debt free.”

“It feels good to be named a Nicol Scholar,” says Marlee “and it makes it better that my mom got it, too.”