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Vari Scholar shares the profound impact Helen Vari made in her life

May 7, 2018

By Natalie Neumann Butler

"Dr. Helen Vari (right) has truly inspired me to become the best educator I can be and I hope to inspire the children I teach to pursue their own dreams," says MA student Katie Kovacs (left), recipient of the Vari Scholarship.

Katie Kovacs knows first hand the impact a scholarship can have. In 2015, Katie was a few weeks away from withdrawing from her first year in OISE's Master of Arts in Child Study and Education program because of financial barriers, but a timely award made possible by the George and Helen Vari Foundation enabled her to continue her studies.

With the prestigious Vari Scholarship, Katie remained enrolled in her program which was especially meaningful because of her father. “My father had passed away just before I started school, and in a way, I felt like this scholarship had somehow been my father helping me to continue in following my dreams,” she said.

The scholarship honours and supports exceptional University of Toronto students who plan to pursue a career in primary or secondary teaching in Ontario.

With the support of the award, Katie had access to many rewarding opportunities throughout her teacher education at OISE.

In her second year, she volunteered at OISE's Play Learning Lab at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study and completed two research manuscripts with important insights about play-based learning in Ontario.

“Without Dr. Helen Vari’s support, these dreams may not have been realised.”

Most special of all is the wonderful connection Katie developed with Dr. Vari at the Annual Vari Scholars Awards Luncheon.

“I learned of Dr. Vari’s kindness and genuine commitment to developing meaningful relationships with the students she has helped," Katie said.

"She has always greeted me with open arms – I really feel that I have gained not only support, but I have become a part of the Vari Scholar family.”

Inspired by Katie’s story? Give to OISE today and help champion our promising scholars of tomorrow.