2011 Winners

Sudbury | Aspiring Achiever Scholarship

Charlotte Roy

Charlotte Roy

Fairy tale princesses have beauty and charm, but do they offer little girls examples of strong female role models?

Charlotte Roy, a Grade 12 student at Marymount Academy in Sudbury, explored the influence post-feminist "princess culture" has on young girls today in her winning essay entitled Princess Dreams.

Roy is this year's winner of the Influential Women's (IW) Aspiring Achiever Essay Scholarship. The honour comes with a cheque for $2,000.

People, not cartoon princesses, have the biggest impact on girls as they grow into young women, she says.

"I personally loved the Disney princesses when I was younger, so I know firsthand that they can impact girls, but I also know that it was the real people in my life who reached out to me and made a personal connection with me that actually affected who I am," explains Roy. "It was that relation that I wanted to explain through my essay."

At 18, Roy has already shown herself to be an excellent role model for young girls.

During the 2010 school year, she won several awards for high academic achievement as well as the Girl Guides of Canada Bursary. She participated in numerous clubs and teams at her school, and took part in a student exchange in France.

Roy volunteered with the YMCA as a mentor and planning committee member for the Power of Being a Girl event. She was a leader with Girl Guides of Canada for the past five years and gave her time to regional, provincial and international guiding events.

"It is simply rewarding, getting to help other people through any number of ways. It provides great perspective," says Roy.

"It has taught me things such as organization skills, presentation skills and leadership, and it has shown me a lot about the human condition, and what incredible things can be accomplished with hard work and lots of heart."

Through her work volunteering as a Guide, Roy has learned what it takes to be a leader, and has developed her own leadership style. A leader is someone who has earned the respect of others and has a core set of values that guides them to their goals, she says.

"I always try to get to know each person individually, for two reasons. I think a leader should be approachable, and so getting to know people shows my interest, and I hope it allows them to feel comfortable around me. The second reason is everyone has different skills and ideas, and I think that the best outcomes come when all of these ideas are put together."

One of the most important women in Roy's life is her mother, Caroline Hallsworth, who is the executive director of administrative support services for the City of Greater Sudbury.

"My mum is probably one of the most amazing women I know. She has taught me everything, and I only wish to have some of her intelligence and character," says Roy.

The young woman also counts her Girl Guide and Pathfinder leader Shirley Rivers as a mentor.

"She really pushed all of us to become a better version of ourselves. She knew what we were capable of, and made sure that we knew it and never tried for anything less than our best," explains Roy.

Roy plans to attend Queen's University in Kingston. She wants to become a chiropodist (foot doctor) and volunteer with Doctors Without Borders.