Emily Hunter credits the Catholic education she got at St. Michael's Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, Ont. for helping her gain admissions to Harvard University. She starts school at the prestigious Ivy League school in September. Photo courtesy Hunter family

Niagara teen excels on all fronts to gain Harvard admission

  • April 30, 2017

Emily Hunter expects to do great things at Harvard University starting next September, thanks to the Catholic education she received in Ontario.

“The atmosphere that I was able to grow up in in terms of my education made a great foundation for going out into the world and making a difference through this amazing opportunity of getting into Harvard,” said Hunter, one of 938 students world-wide to earn early acceptance this year to the famed Ivy League institution. “(It) has helped shape me into being someone who is personable and cares about the community.”

As a student of St. Michael’s Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, Ont., Hunter — whose average floats between 97 and 98 per cent — said staff nurtured a culture of caring and encouraged her to engage in the community beyond the school.

“My school is very focused in community involvement,” said the 18-year-old. “They really encourage us to get involved in any way that we see fit or that we are passionate about. That really motivated me to get involved more.”

Since donning the St. Michael’s uniform in Grade 9, Hunter’s amassed a variety of volunteer experiences. She’s touched the waters of politics by joining the Mayor’s Advisory Committee which serves as a youth-centred extension of Niagara Falls’ city council, tutored peers in math and science, and affirmed her passion for medicine while volunteering in the Niagara Health System.

“I’m hoping to go into medicine one day, but I’m just not sure the undergraduate path I’ll take to get to medical school,” said Hunter.

harvard admission webEmily Hunter and her ticket to Harvard. (Photo courtesy Hunter family)

Hunter also plans to continue putting a considerable amount of time back into the community as a student of Harvard.

“I don’t know the exact ways that I want to get involved extra curricularly just yet, but I’m looking into research programs and their student government and student council groups,” she said.

Hunter’s love for Harvard University began in Grade 9 when she, along with her parents and younger brother, travelled to Boston.

“Last minute we jumped on a tour of the campus and an admissions presentation,” she said. “Walking around the campus it looked beautiful. There I decided that that is where I want to go.”

Hunter began exploring exactly what it would take to become one of Harvard’s international students. And what she found, though challenging academically, only further motivated her.

“All of the initiatives that have been started about recruiting low-income students, international students and under-represented minorities, they’re doing a lot to change the stereotype of the school (and) that appealed to me the most,” she said of the United States’ oldest university, founded in 1636.

Her mother Sarah said that her daughter’s commitment to attending Harvard never wavered over the years.

“Whatever she does she gives it 100 per cent,” she said, “and my husband and I don’t take credit for it. God made Emily the way that she is and she is very driven.”

Although both mother and daughter are excited about moving day, Aug. 15, there is some sadness at the thought of the teen leaving home.

“I was sad actually for a week or two,” Sarah said. “But I’m excited for her now. I’ve grasped the fact that she is going and I have to let her fly.

“I have no worries because Emily has shown what she is made of her whole life.”

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