Hannah Wagner has earned the right to brag, having been named this year's recipient of the Athena Scholarship Fund.
Instead, the fourth-year Clair College student majoring in Social Justice and Legal Studies personifies selflessness, humility and is deeply committed to serving communities.
This scholarship is awarded annually to four students in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements, with the goal of expanding leadership opportunities for women and enriching the quality of life within the community.
"I am passionate about making the unseen feel seen,” Wagner said. “Last year, I served as the president of the Social Justice Club, and our mission was to make people at St. Clair College feel seen and valued.”
Initially drawn to the social work program, Wagner felt a higher calling to pursue Social Justice and Legal Studies, and says she has no regrets. The program's objectives align perfectly with her passions and interests, providing her with a profound sense of fulfillment.
Wagner's dedication to philanthropy played a pivotal role in her winning the Athena Scholarship. Its requirements emphasize "demonstrating a community spirit that benefits people." Although she missed the initial congratulatory call, the emotions of the second call were no less exhilarating.
"My brother was like, 'Say I do! Say I do!' because that's how excited I was when I received the call at the Strawberry Festival,” Wagner explained. “He said I was acting like I was being proposed to. I don't think I've ever felt endorphins before, but I believe that was it."
Wagner learned about the Athena Scholarship Fund during a Student Representative meeting. She conducted thorough research on the scholarship and, like the saint she is, encouraged her peers to apply.
Her qualifications and experiences, gained through St. Clair College and Heritage Park Alliance Church aligned perfectly with the scholarship's requirements. She fondly remembers the support she received from her St. Clair instructors.
"One of my instructors said, 'Hannah, you are an emerging leader.' But then I thought, there are so many other emerging leaders at St. Clair. I applied with faith, but if I didn't get it, I would bless whoever does," she continued.
Looking toward her future, Wagner aspires to enter the legislative field within government. She intends for her path to mirror the bible scripture Micah 6:8, as she believes it embodies her purpose. She measures her success by the impact she makes within her community; any contrasting outcome would be considered unsuccessful in her eyes.
"At the end of the day, it's all about the small things you can do to make someone's life better, the act of blessing others. Are you being kind to those around you? Are you doing the little things that could make someone's day?"
Wagner, along with the three other recipients of the 2023 Athena Scholarship, will be honoured at a luncheon on Thursday, Nov. 10, at the St. Clair College Centre for the Arts.