Husband and wife Dr. Dominick Shelton and Jacqueline Spence have joined the list of Black Business & Professional Association (BBPA)-administered national scholarship donors making significant financial contributions to young people’s education.
A University of Waterloo graduate, Dr. Shelton is an emergency physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, while Spence is a Toronto District School Board superintendent.
“We feel privileged that we can make a small donation to a young person’s future,” said Spence, a former Africentric Alternative School principal. “While I was fortunate that my parents were able to support me while I was pursuing post-secondary education, I know there are many bright young people with potential out there whose families are unable to do the same for them.”
The couple has made a three-year commitment to donate $2,000 annually to the scholarship program.
“We will see where it goes after that,” said Shelton, who co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Blacks in Health Sciences. “Providing a scholarship for a young person in our community is something we have been thinking about. I didn’t get scholarships because there were very few available in my time and I was probably not aware of them. That doesn’t matter. We just want to give a hand-up to someone who has great potential and needs the money to go to school.”
Inaugural winner, Maame Darkwa, was unable to attend last week’s awards ceremony at York University because of school exams.
The C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute graduate is enrolled in McMaster University’s life sciences program. She aspires to be a gynaecologist/obstetrician.
C.W. Jefferys is one of three west-end high schools that fall under Spence’s jurisdiction.
“It’s so gratifying to us that the recipient came from a school that my wife is now superintendent of and she wants to pursue a medical career,” said Shelton. “It’s coincidental.”
An ardent supporter of young people, mentor and teacher Dr. Miriam Rossi and her husband Renato Rossi donated four scholarships, each worth $2,000, in the name of her late grandmother – Minerva Williams Senhouse – who counselled underprivileged young people in Boston, Massachusetts for nearly four decades.
The winners were Turner Fenton Secondary School graduate, Kyanna Brown, who is enrolled in the University of Ottawa’s social sciences program; aspiring lawyer, Michelle Owusu, who is at Osgoode Hall; Dalhousie University second-year political science student, Ntombifikile Nkiwane, who intends to become a medical doctor and Emery Collegiate Institute graduate, Abdi Hersi, who is in the University of Toronto’s Master of Public Policy program.
Former Jamaica Canadian Association president, Kamala-Jean Gopie, has been donating a $2,000 scholarship in her late mother’s name for the last 16 years.
The Lucille May Gopie scholarship is awarded to a student who has been encouraged by a single parent to pursue higher education. Lucille Gopie died in 2001 at age 94.
This year’s recipient was University of Guelph-Humber student, Shaneka Anderson, who intends to become a social worker or criminal/family lawyer.
The BBPA awarded 52 scholarships worth $180,000.
The recipients included third-year McGill University mechanical engineering student, Iyinoluwa Raji, who was presented with the HSBC Bank of Canada $5,000 award.
“I am truly humbled by this honour,” said the Colonel By Secondary School international baccalaureate program graduate, who migrated from Nigeria with his family in 2001. “It’s good to know that my hard work in school is being recognized and this award will certainly push me even harder in pursuit of my professional goals.”
Raji, who aspires to work with robotic systems or in the aerospace industry, is McGill’s Institute of Aerospace Engineering vice-president of internal affairs.
University of London student, Habiba Cooper-Diallo, was presented with the CIBC $5,000 scholarship awarded to a student who has demonstrated academic brilliance and social responsibility through community service.
Named one of Canada’s “Top 20 Under 20” two years ago, the teenager launched Women’s Health Organization International at her 16th birthday party in Toronto in April, 2012.
The organization was inspired by Cooper-Diallo’s passionate interest in obstetric fistula, which is a severe medical condition in which a hole develops between either the rectum and vagina or the bladder and vagina after severe or failed childbirth in instances where adequate medical care in unavailable.
It’s estimated there are close to one million young women with the debilitating condition in Africa. Because of their severe incontinence and smell, many have been ostracized by their families and villages and live by themselves or with fellow fistula sufferers.
Scholarships were also presented to sports psychologist aspirant, Bismark Boateng, who is at York University; University of Ottawa chemical engineering student, Abdulquadir Ahmed; Christopher Betty, who aspires to practice regulatory law after graduating from the University of Windsor; Ryerson University architectural science student, Samantha Grant; University of Ottawa first-year sociology student, Kalem Beaver, who graduated from Auburn Drive High School in Nova Scotia; York University kinesiology student, Dereck Djan, who is aiming to become a physical education teacher; Westview Centennial Secondary School graduate, Aliyah-Savannah Burey, who is studying political science at the University of Ottawa; York University second-year nursing student, Asma Ali; Melissa Ayisi, who intends to become an English teacher; Ryerson University business management student, Danny Ampadu; Yostina Johannes, who aspires to a registered nurse and York University second-year student, Leneque Wilson.
Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning student, Kimya Hypolite, was presented with the James Massey Music scholarship; Master of Criminology student, Ashley Baker, was the recipient of the Larry McLarty scholarship donated by the Toronto Police Service’s Black Internal Support Network to honour the organization’s first Black uniformed member who joined the Service in January, 1960; Ryerson University students, Carl Lamers and Oluwatobi Ibitoye, were awarded scholarships in the names of former Antigua & Barbuda consul general Madeline Blackman and Milestone Radio founder, Denham Jolly respectively; Patience Afolabi and Gabrielle Fletcher were this year’s Royal Bank of Canada winners; Marissa Walter and Rotimi Fadiya were presented with the Scotiabank awards; Bronson Fridal and Na’Shantea Miller were awarded the TD Financial Group scholarships and aspiring doctor, Nikhail Batiste, graciously accepted the Sterling Dental scholarship.
Other award winners were Crawford Adventist Academy graduate, L’Mar Hall, who intends to become an audiologist; Fanshawe College student, Tianna Brown, who is pursuing fashion merchandising studies; aspiring entrepreneur, Samuel Yigzaw, who is at the University of Waterloo; Ryerson University first-year student, Idris Ali ,who graduated from Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute; University of Toronto juris doctor program student, Imvetinyan Omororogbe; Valerie Amponsah, who graduated from Father Henry Carr Catholic Secondary School and is enrolled in York University’s psychology program; aspiring medical doctor, Aindrea Barrett, who is in the University of Guelph’s biological science program; Shanessa Barnett, who intends to become a lawyer; Trent University business management student, Joshua Jones; York University third-year student, Josee Smith, who hopes to become a paediatrician; Simone Akyianu, who is pursuing law studies at McGill University; aspiring surgeon, Raychelle Marsman; Chris Adjei-Bediako, who is at York University’s Schulich School of Business; mechanical engineer aspirant, Olaoluwa Ojo; University of Western Ontario medical sciences student, Kirsten Bloomfield and Patrick Antwi, who is enrolled in Ryerson University’s business technology management program.
The first BBPA scholarship worth $1,000 was presented in 1986 to Jamaican-born Wayne Batchelor, who went on to become Canada’s first Black interventional cardiologist before relocating to Florida to practice 12 years ago.