Higher education sets the stage for young people to acquire a set of tools that will enable them to take advantage of opportunities, former provincial regional senior judge Greg Regis told this year’s Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association (MACCA) scholarship recipients last Saturday night.
“Some will try to convince you that the sole purpose of an education is to prepare you for a job,” he said. “I urge you to reject that view. A good education will give you the capacity to make sensible and intelligent decisions in life and it will give you the tools to turn disadvantage into a positive weapon.”
Regis, who was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice 14 years ago, urged the recipients making the transition to university to take courses that will develop their ability to think critically.
“Take courses which will teach you the ways to question and analyze,” he said. “Take courses which will enhance your ability to make successful arguments. Your goal should be to get a good liberal education. Study history, politics, philosophy and literature and take these subjects as extra credits if you have to. These subjects will improve the quality of the tools in your tool box.
“You will need those tools to overcome the inevitable disadvantages which will confront you.”
A total of 19 first-year university/college students were presented with $1,000 scholarships at the 26th annual awards event in Richmond Hill. They included Brother Andre Catholic High School graduate Abraham Omorogbe who was the recipient of the Allon McKenzie Memorial Award presented to the student who best exemplifies leadership, community involvement and the best and brightest that society has to offer.
McKenzie founded the organization in his basement in 1987 and served as the second president a year later. He died in an accident in 1995 and his family launched the award in his name 14 years ago.
Omorogbe, who scored in the top 20 in the Waterloo Pascal Math Contest, is enrolled in McMaster University’s engineering program. He plans to become a software engineer and open a business with his four brothers.
Middlefield Collegiate Institute graduate Jessica Ketwaroo, who volunteers at Woodhaven Long Term Care Facility and has two part-time jobs to help pay tuition costs, said she was humbled and very grateful for the Middlefield African Caribbean Educators-sponsored scholarship.
“Besides providing some financial freedom, it means that there are people in the community who support young people and our goals,” said Ketwaroo, an aspiring lawyer who is enrolled in Ryerson University’s politics and governance program.
The other winners were Nooran Abbas who attends York University and intends to become a physician; Milliken Mills High School graduate Mary Aboagyewaafianko who is pursuing social services studies at Seneca College; Khadija Dunn who is enrolled in the University of Guelph-Humber media studies program; Alana Changoor who is in the U of T co-op business management program; Seneca College student Zachary Burke whose interest is in marketing; Jessica Chan who is pursuing a degree in co-op business management at the University of Toronto; Francesco Fusca who is enrolled in York University’s criminology program; McMaster University engineering student Nabil Hamza, who is an accomplished trumpeter and Bill Crothers Secondary School and Royal Conservatory of Music graduate LaChae Hood who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph.
Scholarships were also presented to Tiana Knight who is in York University’s sociology program; Maple High School graduate and Carleton University student TeAnne Laborde-Sutton who aspires to be a lawyer; Julia Levy who attends York University; Bur Oak Secondary School graduate Shia Montas who is enrolled in Humber College’s public relations program; Kayne Munroe who is pursuing social sciences at the U of T; Seneca College child & youth worker student Anysha Reid-Henry; U of T Faculty of Arts & Science humanities program student Micael Thompson and Leo Club founder Amanda Persaud-Thomas who is enrolled in the U of T’s management & economics program.
Since its inception, the MACCA has presented 207 scholarships worth $153,750.
Recipients include Kareena Elliston who holds a Master’s in Business Administration and Dr. Garfield Miller who went on to become the first Black Canadian to enter the U of T’s ophthalmology residency program and is now an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Ottawa Eye Institute and a specialist in glaucoma and advanced anterior segment surgery at Ottawa General Hospital.
Miller is giving back to the organization through scholarships to memorialize his mother, Cloe Miller, who passed away three years ago.