Rachel Pinhey was on vacation with her parents in Bathurst, N.B., when she saw the email from the King’s registrar informing her that she had been awarded the Carrie and Ralph Wright Memorial Scholarship, valued over four years at $39,000.
But her parents weren’t there to share in her joy and excitement—not yet, anyway.
“My parents had gone on a distillery tour,” says Rachel, 17, “so this was the only time of our entire vacation they weren’t with me—and of course, that’s when I get the news.”
A ten minute, tear-soaked phone call with her mother quickly followed, as her proud parents shared in the wonderful news.
Rachel had first learned about the Foundation Year Program from a family friend, who was a graduate of King’s. While Rachel was only in tenth grade at the time, the two had similar reading habits and the friend suggested to Rachel that she’d be a good fit for King’s.
“Later that year,” says Rachel, “I attended an education fair and a person from King’s was there, so I went over and we had an amazing conversation. From that moment, it became my dream to attend King’s.”
A balance of arts and science
A prolific reader since childhood, Rachel discovered that she has already read a number of titles on the King’s Foundation Year syllabus, with Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ being a favourite novel. She was introduced to this classic, along with others, including Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’, in the advanced English course taught at Rothesay High School, which focuses on reading classic novels, plays and short stories and writing essays on them. Rachel even read ‘The Odyssey’ over the summer, knowing she would study it in depth as part of the Foundation Year Program.
“I got totally into it,” she says of Homer’s epic tale.
There’s something else Rachel got into: discussing these great books with her fellow students, something she says is very different from just reading them on your own.
“Speaking with others who are reading the same work has really helped me gain a better understanding of the books, especially their more challenging aspects.”
Rachel says talking with others in this way brings “a whole new perspective” to reading, and that the sharing of ideas with others has led her to new ideas she would not have had otherwise. She also says these conversations can be quite a trip.
“Sometimes these conversations can lead you down a rabbit hole of philosophical discussion and you come out on the other end a new, inspired person.”
Rachel also has a love of math and science, and it’s a science degree she is pursuing at King’s. She finished first in her grade on multiple math competitions over the course of her high school career and, in her senior year, was first in her physics class.
“I like the idea of having a balance between arts and science,” says Rachel, “which is why I’m so excited about King’s. I may do a double major, maybe Physics and then something in the Humanities, but I still have to speak with an academic advisor to see how that will work out.”
The Carrie and Ralph Wright Memorial Scholarship was established through the generous bequest of alumna Judith Kaye Wright, BA’64, in memory of her parents and was first awarded in 2019-2020.
Born in Sydney, N.S. in 1942 to Ralph and Carrie (Mackley) Wright, Judith graduated from the University of Toronto as well as King’s, and was a teacher and voracious reader. Wright’s wish was that, upon her death, this gift be used to provide one or more leading undergraduate scholarships, based on academic excellence, for entering and/or in-course full-time students of King’s humanities programs, including the Foundation Year Program. Judith died in Toronto in December, 2017, and is interred with her parents at Hardwood Hill Cemetery in Sydney.
This generous act of giving by Judith Kaye Wright is not lost on Rachel Pinhey. In an emotional thank you letter she sent to King’s, in which she admitted she was crying as she wrote it, Rachel promised to do her best to live up to Judith’s dream, and “to honour the memory of Judith and her parents.”