Dr. Irving Andre seized every educational opportunity that came his way to become one of the handful of Black judges in Canada and the only one in the province with a doctorate. He has also authored 13 books and plans to publish at least three more this year.
Last Saturday night at the Sister Kathleen Jackman memorial scholarship awards, Andre threw down the gauntlet to young people to take advantage of the many educational opportunities in Canada.
“You are very fortunate to live in a province where there are about 20 universities, close to 50 colleges and a host of other educational institutions that are literally beckoning for you to come forth and take your place in society,” he said in his keynote address. “I want you to focus on that vision of possibilities rather than impediments that stand in your way.”
The scholarships were presented in the name of Kathleen Jackman, a member of the Order of Dominican Sisters, who came to Canada in 1979 to work as a Lay Sister at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1982 and died in January 1985, just eight days after returning to her native Trinidad & Tobago.
Our Lady of Good Counsel Caribbean Catholic Church administers the awards.
Andre reminded the recipients that they are receiving the scholarships from a faith-based organization.
“God’s life is one that exemplifies service, commitment to a cause and making the best of people,” he said. “This is an environment where you should look at what is possible and you should be mindful of the pitfalls on the path to success. You can do whatever you want once you put your mind to the task.”
The scholarship winners were Omare Billy, Joseph Jackson, Sherri Marksman, Gaelen Sydney, Kelrie Layne and Rebecca McFarlane.
A University of Windsor Forensic Science honours degree graduate, Billy just completed his first year of medical school at St. George’s University. Jackson graduated from St. Michael’s College School and is enrolled in the University of West Virginia Institute of Technology on a soccer scholarship while Marksman is registered in Seneca College’s Child & Youth worker program.
Sydney, a St. Joseph’s Secondary School graduate, is a Graceland University sophomore student majoring in Physical Education and Athletic Training while Layne is a second-year York University Humanities program student. McFarlane, 19, is a psychology student at Trent University.
The church has contributed nearly $67,000 in academic awards to post-secondary students in the last 12 years.