For Tiffany Harris, winning a Jamaica Canadian Association (JCA) scholarship a decade ago was more than just receiving much needed financial assistance to pursue post-secondary education. It opened doors by allowing her to make important community contacts and she was appointed the Jamaica 50 Celebrations Inc. treasurer and director of finance.
Thankful for the opportunities the scholarship created, Harris is giving back in a big way. She donated a scholarship which was presented at the JCA’s 11th annual awards last Saturday night.
“The award I received 10 years ago helped to advance my career and all I am trying to do now is give someone an opportunity,” said Harris, who is a controller with research operations at the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC). “I hope to do this annually.”
A graduate of Lester B. Pearson Collegiate Institute and the University of Toronto (U of T) with a business administration degree, Harris spent five years with Ernst & Young as a senior staff accountant and two years with Sears Canada as a risk & compliance manager before joining the HSC last January.
Seneca College first-year business administration student Nazreen Miller-Campbell proudly accepted the award.
“Naturally, every cent counts when it comes to paying to go to school, so I am very grateful for this award,” said Miller-Campbell who graduated from St. Roch Catholic Secondary School and has done extensive volunteer work with the Heart & Stroke Foundation and the Ontario Basketball Association.
The JCA presented 53 scholarships worth $60,000. Overall, the multi-service agency has donated $311,000 in financial assistance since the scholarship program was established in 2002.
Rhodes scholar Dr. Kofi Hope was the keynote speaker at the awards at the JCA centre.
The managing director of Community Empowering Enterprises funded by the Youth Challenge Fund, Hope urged the students to stay the course in college or university.
“You have an amazing opportunity to be pursuing post-secondary education and the number one thing you have got to do is finish your degree,” Hope told the recipients. “No matter how tough it gets, do not drop out. Even if it takes you seven years to finish your degree and even if you have to change majors or subjects, get your diploma, get your certification and do not stop until you are on that stage standing in front of your friends wearing that funny hat and holding that piece of paper with your name.
“That’s what we need from all of you. We need you to graduate, we need you to get out there and shine in the career that makes you happy and then we need you to give back. While you folks are about to stretch out your wings and fly, there are too many young people in our community who are falling through the cracks.”
Scholarships were presented to soccer referee and York University biochemistry student Matthieu Stewart; J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate Institute graduate Chelsie Johnson who is enrolled in the U of T’s life sciences program; Parkdale Collegiate Institute honour roll graduate Bina Nsimba, who is pursuing nursing studies at Ryerson University; McMaster University student Daniel O’Connor who aspires to be a mechanical engineer; accomplished musician and athlete Stephen Stoddart, who arrived from Jamaica a year ago and was an honour roll student at Donald Wilson Secondary School prior to entering the Ontario Institute of Technology earlier this month; McMaster University political science student Julianne Mundle who intends to become an international human rights lawyer; Cardinal Ambrozic Catholic Secondary School graduate Keanu Elliott who is enrolled in Carleton University’s criminology & justice program and LaChae Hood who is pursuing biological science studies at the University of Guelph.
Other recipients were Sheridan College child & youth worker student, Monique Dewar-Ellis; Maya Johnson who is in Seneca College’s fashion arts program; Ryerson University politics & program governance student Jessica Ketwaroo; Shantel Myers who is enrolled in George Brown College’s business administration program; nursing student Karla Francique who is on the Dean’s Honours List at Ryerson University; learning support peer Jaylen McCurbin who is enrolled in the University of Guelph-Humber honours business management program; Ryerson University occupational health & safety student Patchardo Mulholland who assisted in fundraising projects to support Jamaican schools; Krystal Noray who aspires to be a public relations specialist; Dondre Stewart who is studying journalism at Humber College and soccer player and Red Cross volunteer Brandon Fenton who is pursuing a business administration degree at the University of Guelph-Humber.
High school honour roll student Sheneil Rochester is enrolled in York University’s fine arts music program; Blaze Box is pursuing a new media career; Chevon Gilzene is enrolled in York University’s classical clarinet music program; Fenton Turner Secondary School honour roll and Principal’s Award graduate Kenyah Coombs is a soccer coach; Zhavion Pedersen-Bailey is enrolled in Brock University’s social sciences program; Seneca College digital media arts program student Tichina Hyman’s goal is to become the chief executive officer of her own design agency; Kemisha Wilson-Andrews is pursuing a degree in occupational and public health at Ryerson University; Alexander Whitfied is enrolled in Ryerson’s retail management program; Diana Polica graduated from high school in Cuba and is registered in Sheridan College’s child & youth worker program; steel pan player Chantel McKnight is attending York University; Ontario Legislative Assembly page Soyinka Reid is studying English and History at York University; Reneesha McCormack is enrolled in the University of Ontario’s health science program; Brittany Ashmeade is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at York University and Egerton Sterling is in Ryerson University’s civil engineering program.
In addition, the JCA youth and education fund sponsored 20 scholarships.
The recipients were chemical engineer aspirant Terell Brown; St. Michael’s College School graduate Alexander Brothers; Fenton Jagdeo who is at the University of Western Ontario; Shanique Barrett who is a third-year University of Western Ontario health science student; Cereise Ross who is specializing in international economics and development at the University of Ottawa; Nicollette Weathers who is a kinesiology & physical education student at the U of T; Barbara Yeboah who is enrolled in York University’s youth studies program; Earl Haig Secondary School graduate and Spelling Bee competitor Leneque Wilson; U of T undergraduate Isiah Weathers; Javon Nelson who is at Carleton University; Joshuah Paul who is enrolled in York University’s space engineering program; Jordanne Robertson who is an accounting & finance student at Ryerson; Marshalee McLeod who is at the University of Guelph pursuing sociology studies; Tia McCalla who is pursuing a double major in criminology & sociology at the U of T; Kamaria Francis who is in the University of Western Ontario’s food, nutrition & family studies program; Nathaniel Turnah who is enrolled in Ryerson’s mechanical engineering program; Rochelle Gardner who aspires to be a teacher; June Pottinger who is a York University student; Keevan Robertson who is an undergraduate student at Wilfrid Laurier University and Headley Ryan who is pursuing an applied science & engineering degree at Queen’s University.
St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School Grade 10 student Aleshia Charles was the recipient of a bursary.