Hayley Morris, 19, knew what she wanted to do with her life before many were through with the Harry Potter series. (Courtesy Martin Morris)
Hayley Morris knew early in high school what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. While that’s not unusual, her choice of career was far different from the dreams of fame and fortune brought by Hollywood or the world of sports.
Morris wanted to be an accountant.
“In high school I took an accounting course and immediately fell in love with it,” Morris said. “I like that it’s methodical but you use your judgment a bit as well. It’s not mechanical like everybody thinks it is.”
That focus has helped Hayley attain strong grades in school, first at Kuper Academy and then Marianopolis College. That earned her a spot in the prestigious John Molson School of Business at Concordia University. Now she will be receiving help in her first year in the program.
Morris was chosen as the recipient of the 2017 Tewatohnhi’saktha Scholarship Fund. She received $3,000 in a ceremony on Friday morning.
“I’m very grateful and fortunate to receive it,” Morris said. “I encourage others to pursue their goals in the financial field.”
Which is exactly why the scholarship was created in the first place in 2011. It was determined that only one-percent of Kahnawake students go into business-related post-secondary studies. Alwyn Morris is part of the group that selects the scholarship winners.
“That’s really important for us because we see the value of someone who puts in the hours and commitment and that benefits the community,” Alwyn said.
There have been 10 students who have received the scholarship in the last six years.
Just 19 years old, Morris’ attitude and maturity belie her years.
“There’s not many students pursuing studies in this field,” Hayley said. “It’s a good way of motivating people to go towards these studies. It definitely would be great to see more people showing interest in it.”
Her father Martin knows how much interest Hayley shows in her schoolwork.
“I’m very proud of all the hard work she does,” Martin said. “She truly deserves it. She’s up all night studying to achieve her goals.”
Martin jokes that sometimes that focus affects him in his own home.
“She’s very focused. Right now it’s hell week in the house (mid-term exams) and she gets mad if we talk to her because she’s so involved in it,” Martin said.
Hayley has already gotten a great deal of work experience in her field. While many her age are often enjoying themselves, Hayley was working, including three years as a financial clerk at the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake. All while she was in school.
“I worked in the finance and accounting department,” Hayley said. “A lot of people, they never got that kind of experience, so I’m very fortunate to have that.”
It’s that sort of drive that impressed Alwyn and the committee.
“Everything she has done that leads up to where she is now is impressive,” Alwyn said. “You don’t go to that school at a drop of a hat. It’s what she did before to get as far as she has.”
And Hayley wants to take her degree as far as it can take her. That and a lot of hard work, she says.
“First I want to get my CPA (Chartered Accountant) designation after I graduate,” Haley said. “I have been working at council quite a bit, maybe stay there or set up my own firm.”
“I see Hayley also as someone who achieved at a very high level and that in itself becomes a beacon, Alwyn said. “It’s about achievement in the peer group. We would like to see her complete a degree and be a role model in the community.”