Striving for Success, Even in Hard Times: Meet Leah Burns

When Leah Burns was awarded the Chancellor Scholarship from Cape Breton University she felt a major sense of accomplishment. All those long hours of studying and perfecting her assignments had finally paid off. Born and raised in Belle Cote, Cape Breton, Leah was ready to dive headfirst into the Bachelor of Business Administration Program at CBU.

The Chancellor’s Award is a $30,000 entrance scholarship awarded based on academic merit to high school students entering CBU. To receive a Chancellor’s Award, students must demonstrate exceptional academic grades, meaningful volunteer work within the community, and extracurricular involvement. Leah, with her strong leadership skills and academic success, was a natural choice for the award.

Leah says the feeling she experienced when being awarded the scholarship is something that can never be recreated. “I was excited, thrilled, overjoyed and any other synonym you can think of for being extremely happy,” she describes. “Plus, knowing I need to maintain a strong average to keep my scholarship motivates me to work harder and continuously strive for good grades.” Leah also says she couldn’t be more grateful for the ways in which this scholarship has helped her through her university journey thus far, relieving financial stress along the way.

As she neared graduation from Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre, Leah became interested in attending CBU because of the small class sizes and opportunity to stay at home during her studies. “Coming from a graduating class of just over 30, I’ve had the privilege of understanding the importance of student-teacher relationships on my studies,” she explains. “Overall, I knew by attending CBU I would be surrounding myself with good people and a positive environment.” In grade 11, Leah was diagnosed with cancer and remembers the CBU Women’s Basketball team sending her a personalized jersey and game passes for her and her basketball team. “After that, there was no doubt I would be in the right place at CBU,” says Leah. We are thrilled to share that Leah has been cancer free for more than two years, and says the experience taught her to persevere and never lose hope.

Although Leah believes with enough determination and motivation, learning can be done in any environment, she admits online learning has had its challenges and she can’t wait to meet her classmates face-to-face. “There’s nothing I’m more excited for than in-person classes starting again,” Leah says. “Being able to speak to others and learn from them is such an important aspect of the University experience and I’m really looking forward to having that opportunity soon.”

Reflecting on her scholarship, Leah sends her sincerest thanks to the donors who make these awards available to students. “I want to express my appreciation and gratitude to all donors who make these awards possible,” she says. “You are truly life-changers. This award has changed the way I approach my studies, motivates me and relieves the weight of financial stress.”

Thank you to all of our wonderful donors who impact student journeys year after year. The difference you make in our students’ lives is immeasurable. To learn more about scholarships at CBU, visit