Student with “insatiable” love for Montgomery wins UPEI’s first Avery Award
In L.M. Montgomery’s beloved Anne of Green Gables, the Avery Scholarship was an object of fierce competition between Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe. The Avery Award is a very real, new award at UPEI, established in appreciation of the legacy of Montgomery, and its very first recipient is Michaela Wipond, a third-year English major from Calgary, Alberta.
Wipond first fell in love with the writings of Montgomery as a lonely 11-year-old at summer camp, when a copy of Anne became her closest companion. She spent the next six years devouring every title of PEI’s most famous literary icon she could put her hands on. Indeed, it was her love of Montgomery which brought her to UPEI.
“Moving across the country to a province I had never been to before was not an easy decision to make, but it was undoubtedly the right one,” wrote Wipond in her application essay. “I accomplished one of my dearest ambitions when, in the summer of 2016, I took English 333: L.M. Montgomery. I found inspiration, a mentor, and a kindred spirit in Professor Deirdre Kessler.”
The Avery Award comes with a $1000 cash prize, and an opportunity to work with mentor Melanie Fishbane. Fishbane is the social media coordinator and member of the management committee of the L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI). She is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel Maud, inspired by the life of L.M. Montgomery. Fishbane will mentor Wipond in social media initiatives of the LMMI and help her connect with a passionate international community of scholars and readers.
“When I first met Michaela at the LMMI conference in 2016, I remember thinking how wonderful it was that we had a student at the conference, who had such passion and focus for Montgomery and her work,” said Fishbane. “Michaela is part of the next generation of scholars, and it is imperative that the LMMI supports this any way it can. I’m thrilled that Michaela won the Avery Award and have this opportunity to nurture her ambitions, showing her best practices in how to engage with the Montgomery community online and around the world.”
The Avery Scholarship (now the Avery Award) was originally established by Jeannette Arsenault and Don Maxfield, the owners Cavendish Figurines Ltd. (now Shop & Play), and their staff. The award was created in appreciation of the legacy of L.M. Montgomery on PEI and in tribute to the “spirit of Anne.” The award supports UPEI students with an interest in Montgomery and a desire to pursue excellence in writing.
The University of Prince Edward Island prides itself on people, excellence, and impact and is committed to assisting students reach their full potential in both the classroom and community. With roots stemming from two founding institutions—Prince of Wales College and Saint Dunstan’s University—UPEI has a reputation for academic excellence, research innovation, and creating positive impacts locally, nationally, and internationally. UPEI is the only degree granting institution in the province and is proud to be a key contributor to the growth and prosperity of Prince Edward Island.