Dressed to the nines for the occasion, Durham high school student, Neil Biggart, was honoured to be invited to last Saturday night’s Harry Jerome Awards that recognize excellence in Canada’s Black community.
“This is so inspiring,” said the aspiring entrepreneur. “To be in the presence of so many achievers and role models in Canada’s Black community is refreshing and something that will impact me positively.”
Biggart was among 10 Father Leo J. Johnson Catholic Secondary School students handpicked by their teacher, Dr. Leroy Clarke, to attend the marquee event.
“Exposing these kids to a world of successful Black Canadians is important for our young people,” said Clarke who migrated from Jamaica three decades ago and has been at the Whitby school since 2002. “My area of work is mentoring and one of the things that is critical is for them to recognize that there are people out there who are making it and these are people of colour.
“Growing up in Jamaica, I was never exposed to anything remotely close to an event honouring excellence in the community. I tell these young people to make the most of these special occasions and cherish them.”
The students, ranging from Grades Nine to 12, were selected based on academic excellence, school and community involvement and leadership potential.
“To be part of a setting that honours African-Canadian excellence is an amazing experience,” said Grade 12 student Cashana McDonald, who intends to be a teacher or fashion designer. “I am going to enjoy this to the fullest.”
The Black Business & Professional Association (BBPA), corporate and individual sponsors make it possible for the students to attend the event free of cost.
By RON FANFAIR