In the past 25 years, the Markham African Caribbean Association (MACA) has presented $158,750 in scholarships to 167 students pursuing post-secondary education.
Many of the young people have used the financial assistance to secure academic and professional excellence and become shining lights in Canada and other parts of the world.
Concordia University’s Educational Technology doctoral candidate, Kris Alexander, teaches at the undergraduate and graduate levels at Ryerson University; Kurt Macdonald is in his final year of medical school at Columbus University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Shaun Johnson is a speech and language pathologist in New York; Jamaal Miles teaches professionals soft skills training to improve their personal and professional performance; Dionne Matthew is completing her PhD in cardiovascular health in England where she now lives and Kareena Elliston holds a Masters in Business Administration and is training in a management program at TD Bank Group.
In addition, Garfield Miller went on to become the first African-Canadian to enter the University of Toronto’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.
Dr. Miller is also giving back to the organization through scholarships to memorialize his mother – Cloe Miller – who passed away in 2010.
At the organization’s 25th annual awards last Saturday night, educator Dr. Avis Glaze praised the MACA for its unwavering support for students and their future.
“By recognizing excellence, you are reaffirming the value we place on education as a community,” said Dr. Glaze, who has also donated 20 scholarships in the last nine years. “As a community, we value education and the scholarships awarded each year are a testimony to this fact.”
The former Ontario chief student achievement officer and founding chief executive officer of the Literacy & Numeracy Secretariat also congratulated the scholarship winners for their indomitable spirit, unrelenting resolve and for doing their part in ensuring that the Black community leaves a positive imprint on Canadian society.
“While we celebrate excellence this evening, let us not forget the students who are struggling to succeed,” said Glaze. “They need our concern, attention, continued support and guidance.”
Maple High School graduate, Scott Brown, said he’s humbled to be a recipient of Glaze’s scholarship.
“I am happy for the financial assistance, but more particularly one that’s coming from this distinguished individual who obviously cares a lot about young people and their future,” said Brown, who is enrolled in the University of Windsor’s Bachelor of Education program.
McMaster University Life Sciences student and aspiring medical doctor, Arnold Kofia, was the recipient of the Allon McKenzie Memorial Award which is presented to a student who best exemplifies leadership, community involvement and the best and brightest that society has to offer.
McKenzie along with his wife, Ruth, Tilley Murray, Josling Goring, Princess Goland and the late Ravel Bridge co-founded the MACA in his basement in1987. The organization’s second president died in a tragic accident in 1995 and his family launched the award in his name 13 years ago.
Also presented with scholarships last Saturday night were Collette Alexander and her cousin, Trevlee Alexander-Small, who are pursuing post-secondary studies at Ryerson University; Vaughan Secondary School honour roll graduate Zeinab Aidid, who is attending the University of Toronto (U of T); Ryerson University social work degree student, Monique Obeng; Bill Crothers Secondary School graduate Connor Blades, who is enrolled in the University of Western Ontario; McMaster University student Kimberly Cross, who aspires to be a child advocate lawyer; Father Michael McGivney Catholic Academy graduate Myriam Dioubate, who’s enrolled in the U of T; Jemmy Erhiaganoma, who is pursuing a political science degree at the University of Ottawa; Bayview Secondary School graduate Alan Esty and Moronke Harris, who are both pursuing post-secondary studies at the University of Guelph and Alexander Henry, who is enrolled in Humber College’s film & media production program.
Other winners were aspiring counselling psychologist Tenisha Jones, who is based at the U of T; McGill University student Ifeoluwa Kolade, who intends to become a criminal lawyer; Marco Lucas, who is enrolled in York University’s Schulich School of Business; Stefan Miller, who graduated from Father Michael McGivney Catholic School and is pursuing post-secondary studies at Ryerson University; Kirissa Marcial, who is enrolled in the U of T’s Bachelor of Arts degree program; Syneba Mitchell, who aspires to become a secondary school dramatic arts teacher after graduating from Queen’s University; Nathalia Niles, who is enrolled in the U of T’s humanities program; Kenya Pinnock, who is in the University of Windsor’s liberal arts program; aspiring high school teacher Rhian White, who is enrolled in Nipissing University; Bur Oak Secondary School honour roll graduate and U of T student Kaja Williams, who aspires to become a medical doctor and Vanessa Yard, who graduated from Unionville High School and is attending the University of Western Ontario.