Twenty-one students, mainly from the Jane-Finch corridor, were the recipients of a number of awards handed out recently by the ROOTS Cultural Foundation recently.
The non-profit organization was founded in 1979 in an effort to assist less fortunate and disadvantaged students in the community, and to encourage youth, mainly of African heritage, to stay in school and strive for higher education.
Since its formation, the foundation has expanded its service. Over the years it has assisted youth from various ethnic backgrounds, including South Asian and Chinese.
Delivering the keynote address to the students – described as future leaders – was Pamela Clarke, a holistic health practitioner.
“We are living in a fast-changing technological world in which if you remain stagnant you will be left behind,” said Clarke. “There is a place in our society for each and every one of you, but first you must study hard to position yourself for greater things. When you know your core values, every decision you make will be much easier.”
She urged the students to strive for academic excellence because “education will open many doors”.
For the students to be eligible for an award, each was given an assignment to write an essay. Among the top winners was Desmond Robinson, whose essay was entitled, “It’s not where you are; it’s where you are going.” In his essay, Robinson addressed the determination to succeed in life, despite facing adversity.
Other winners included Chevonne Thomas, Kimani Peter, Shacquan Cummings, the recipient of the Lilly Rose Clarke Scholarship; and Susmita Sarkar, the recipient of the Award of Academic Excellence Trophy.
Over the years, the ROOTS Cultural Foundation has presented awards to a number of students, mainly from the Black and Caribbean community. Many of them are now university graduates.
BY EDDIE GRANT