A teacher’s impact on students should never be underestimated.
Understanding racial discrimination and its devastating effect was clearly articulated for Karimah Butler by her Grade Five educator. It was a defining moment for the first-year University of Toronto humanities student, who plans to become a teacher.
“The influence that teacher and a few others have had on me is the reason that I chose a career where I could give back and make a difference in young people’s lives,” said Butler, who graduated from J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate in Ajax.
She was among eight recipients of annual scholarships administered by The Church of the Nativity. The church’s previous pastor – Rev. Donald Butler who is assigned to Trinity Anglican Church in Barrie – is her father.
“This scholarship is special because I grew up in this church,” said Butler.
Arienne Johnson’s ties to the Malvern church are also close as she was baptized there.
The Markham District High School graduate, who is pursuing media studies at the University of Guelph-Humber, was a member of Empowered Student Partnerships, which is a unique program that challenges students across the Greater Toronto Area to promote safe schools to reduce youth violence.
Kion Flatts was honoured to be the recipient of the Jocelyn Forde Memorial Scholarship.
Toronto Police Service retired deputy chief, Keith Forde, established the award to honour the memory of his wife, who succumbed to cancer 11 years ago.
“This means so much more to me because it’s coming from someone who is a leader in our community,” said Flatts, whose uncle – Malcolm Flatts – is a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer and president of the National Council of Barbadian Associations in Canada.
Raised by his grandmother, Flatts graduated from Wexford Collegiate Schools for the Arts and is a second-year Seneca College acting student.
“I am very expressive, artistic and creative and I have a talent for singing, dancing, acting and entertaining generally,” he said. “So it was only natural that I went to a high school where I was able to get grounded training.”
Other scholarship winners were Emily Carr Secondary School graduate Jalen Patrick, who is enrolled in the U of T’s applied science & engineering program; Kaine Watson-Fagon, who graduated from J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate and is pursuing electrical engineering studies at Fanshawe College; Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy graduate Jahnia Stevens, who is in the U of T social science program; Georgian College police foundations program first-year student Avery Munroe, who graduated from Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School and Senator O’Connor College School graduate, Jewel Jawando, is studying communications and political science at the University of Ottawa.
In the feature address, former St. Vincent & the Grenadines senior magistrate and deputy acting governor general, Errol Mounsey, congratulated the recipients and reminded them that this is the beginning of their intellectual journey.
“Where you go from here is in your hands,” he said. “As you enter the next phase of your life, I urge you to go out there with an attitude to succeed. Don’t be unfazed by the potholes you may encounter as the road to success is hard.”
A total of 90 students have been awarded scholarships since the program began in 1996.