Bullying can have a detrimental effect on students and lead sometimes to devastating outcomes.
Eternity Martis has been subjected to physical and verbal bullying since elementary school, but she was determined that the peer abuse was not going to ruin her life.
The teenager is the president of Monarch Park Collegiate Institute’s Empowered Student Partnerships (ESP) student-led program that empowers young people to plan, organize and execute a 12-month safe schools initiative in their local schools and communities.
She also co-founded the “Girls Night Out” project that encourages her school’s Grade Nine students to talk about making healthy choices and writes for her school’s newspaper on social and political issues.
“I needed something to occupy my time and get my mind off some of the negative things that were affecting me in school,” said Martis who was one of 29 students presented with Future Aces scholarships and citizenship awards last Friday night in Scarborough. “Some of the programs I am involved in directly target students who are being bullied and they provide an outlet for them to talk about what is going on in their lives.”
The Grade 12 student and aspiring social worker plans to enroll in the University of Western Ontario next semester.
Herb Carnegie, who was denied entry into the National Hockey League (NHL) because of his colour, established the Future Aces Hockey school in 1956 when his career ended. He initiated the community program by paying for the ice time at Mitchell Field rink.
Carnegie, who has glaucoma and is blind, later created the Future Aces creed as a means of enhancing the overall development of young participants in the program. The creed is a positive philosophy that instills self-esteem and mutual respect and also inspires educators, parents and community leaders to encourage youth to focus on such virtuous qualities as a good attitude, ethics, service and civic responsibility.
The Herb Carnegie Foundation has given out $470,000 in scholarships since the national project was initiated in 1988. There were 650 applicants from 192 schools for this year’s academic awards.
“Mr. Carnegie is a special person and to be associated with any award in his name is an honour,” said York University final-year student Simone Samuels who will enter McGill University next semester to study law. “When you think about his journey filled with so many potholes along the away and how he has surmounted so many hurdles with dignity and class, it’s quite an achievement for me to be standing here tonight and accepting this academic honour.”
Grade 12 student LaShawn Murray said she was excited to be in Carnegie’s company.
“When you look at the volume of his work and all that he’s achieved, I am happy to be here receiving this award,” said the Robert Bateman High School student, who will enter the University of Western Ontario in September.
Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts Grade 12 student Jessica Samaroo, who was born in Toronto to a Trinidadian father and Newfoundland mother, said the scholarship will inspire her to work harder to achieve her goal of becoming a teacher.
Carnegie, who is 90, congratulated the scholarship winners and encouraged them to be the best they can be.
“I also implore you to spread the word about Future Aces wherever you go,” he told them.
Other scholarship winners were Sara Breault, Anupam Chaudhri, Clarke Cole, Cody Dunne, Amal Ga’al, Malcolm Gagnon, Muzhda Hakime, Hilary Hung, Kyaelim Kwon, Alicia Gonzalez. John Liu, Megan Last-Murray, Mariajose Lopez, Rachel Malek, Gorick Ng, Rosemarie Perkin, Aatif Qureshi, Paige Reeves, Trevor Shah, Samiksha Singh, Sarania Sivasothy, Sivaniya Subramaniapillai, Rani Suleman, Nilamohan Thavarajah and Laura Third.
Ontario’s Deputy House Leader, Cabinet Chair and Minister Responsible for Seniors, Gerry Phillips, provincial Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne, Scarborough-Agincourt MP Jim Karygiannis and York Regional Police Service Chief Armand LaBarge assisted with the presentations.