RBC announced the three winners of the 2014 RBC Black History Month student essay competition at the Toronto Board of Trade earlier this week.
Kate Paisley, of Weston Collegiate Institute, won $5,000 and a “Me to We” trip to Ghana. She wrote about a pair of activists who have made an indelible mark on society and inspired her to be the best she can be.
Oyindasola Lagunju, of Bur Oak Secondary School, won $2,500. In her essay, she highlighted two female symbols of defiance whose acts of sacrifice left a positive mark in history.
Asha Gordon, a student at Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, won $1,500. She wrote about the contributions of two remarkable women who made their voices heard and gave voice to others.
The event featured a stirring keynote address from Catherine Chandler-Crichlow, Executive Director of the Centre of Excellence in Financial Services Education.
“We need to ensure that today our youth are active participants in the ‘innovation’ agenda of our province”, said Chandler-Crichlow. “RBC, through its support for youth, continues to demonstrate its commitment to an innovation agenda across Canada.”
The top 12 essays were all on display, and many of the top 12 essayists and their families were in attendance along with essay panel judges Gerry McNeilly, Director of Ontario’s Office of Independent Police Review; Tanya Walker, 2013 Harry Jerome Award recipient; Kay McConney, former Consul General for Barbados in Toronto; and Ainsworth Morgan, founding Director of Pathways to Education and Vice Principal at Nelson Mandela Public School.
“The history of African Canadians is so essential to the Canadian narrative and an integral part of the broader Canadian story,” said Jennifer Tory, RBC regional president for Greater Toronto. “These students have done a wonderful job of honouring our rich national heritage.”
Students from across the GTA entered their essays on how Black Canadians have helped to define Canada’s diverse heritage and identity through their achievements and contributions to society.
Three of the top essays can be read each Monday in February at rbc.com/essay, including the three scholarship winning essays on February 24.