Holy Collegiate Academy grade 12 student Mickaela Boll was awarded the first annual Alberta Band Association (ABA) Mike W. Achtymichuk Memorial Scholarship! This is an annual $1,000 scholarship created by Joyce Howdle and Olga Achtymichuk to honour the memory of Mike Achtymichuk. 

Boll has been a percussionist since seventh grade, and has been involved in many bands and programs during that time. She said winning the scholarship was an exciting surprise.

"It was actually very exciting. I came home and my dad said I got a letter from ABA and I thought it was generic, but then I saw my name and my friend was with me and she was like 'open it, open it right now!' So we were very ecstatic about it, it'll help me with my future endeavours which is very exciting."

Boll has been playing for five years, and while that may seem like a long time to be invested in music, this is still relatively new for music, especially when you consider that some people have been playing since they were five years old! For Boll to go from a beginner to the only student in Alberta to receive this award took an incredible amount of dedication and work, but she said her time spent practicing and playing didn't feel like work.

"I'm very passionate about music, it was an outlook, so it wasn't really a lot of work for me, because I didn't think of it as work. I thought of it as an escape so it went by. But it was quite a bit, I definitely focused a lot on music some days. Very busy some days with music."

Mickaela BollBoll receiving an award at the Strathmore Performing Arts Festival on behalf of the World Drumming Ensemble

During her short but productive music career so far, Boll was involved in junior high concert band, joined drumline in grade 10, played with world drumming with the school for five years, and also recently was a part of the Alberta Youth Wind Symphony in Red Deer!

Boll earned the scholarship when her music teacher Mrs. Sarah Haughey told her about it. She applied, wrote some letters, and received a reference from Haughey. She said the money will be used to help her pay the registration for the Stetson Show Band.

As for what she hopes to do with music in the future, Boll said she'd be happy to perform with any groups she can find, and also wants to follow in Haughey's footsteps and become a music teacher.

"I'm wanting to become a music teacher. After my last year of high school I'll be going to whatever university will accept me and then I'll take a bachelor of music and a bachelor of education, and hopefully I'll be able to be a junior high/ high school band teacher."

Regardless of what path Boll takes, there's no doubt that music will continue to be a big part of her life.

"Some people like sports, some people like reading. Music, playing in front of others is definitely my thing."

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