The true test of one’s character is how one rises from the canvas and stays upright after being knocked down on several occasions with hard punches.
Aneesah Mohamed, 20, and most of this year’s Community Unity Alliance (CUA) scholarship winners can attest to that.
Mohamed’s high school career was interrupted four years ago by the birth of her first child, Maleek. Her second son, Tariq, was born two years ago and Mohamed worked as a waitress to support her young family. She also sought the help of Rosalie Hall which provides a comprehensive range of early intervention, prevention and treatment services for young families in the Scarborough and Greater Toronto Area.
The young mother of two says she wanted to be an inspiration and a role model for her boys and the only way she knew she could do that was by finishing school.
Mohamed is enrolled in Centennial College’s two-year Community and Justice Diploma program for students seeking a career in the criminal justice system and the community service environment. She aspires to be a probation officer.
“I had to do this for my kids,” said Guyanese-born Mohamed who came to Canada at age three. “I decided to go back to school so that they can have a better life.”
She was presented with the Mary Anne Chambers scholarship at the 15th annual CUA awards event last week in Scarborough.
Nattania Jno-Baptiste, who is also enrolled in the program, was the recipient of the Julian Fantino scholarship. She wants to be a police officer.
“That’s something that I have always wanted to do,” she said. “I am a very strong-minded person who sets goals and is adamant about achieving them. Being a cop is at the top of the list.”
Rachel Obisesan, who migrated to Canada five years ago from Nigeria, received the Jean Augustine academic award presented each year to a single mother who is enrolled in George Brown College’s Social Work program.
“Education has always being a big part of my life,” said Obisesan, who is the mother of a 23-month-old daughter, Onyeka. “It gives you a voice.”
Sadekia Sutherland and Rolando Oliver were the recipients of Seneca Association of Black Educators scholarships while George Mensah was presented with the Delores Lawrence award.