Working on magnetic levitation trains is scholarship recipient's dream
November 23, 2017
Growing up, Jordan Wheatle watched ‘MythBusters’, a science entertainment television program in which the hosts used elements of the scientific method to test the validity of rumors, myths, movie scenes, adages, Internet videos and news stories.
Another one of his favourite Discovery TV shows was ‘Daily Planet’ that features daily news, discussions and commentary on the scientific aspects of current events and discoveries.
It was while watching this series that Wheatle was turned on to magnetic levitation trains.
“They were talking about this phenomenon one day and I became instantly fascinated,” he said.
Wheatle, who is studying applied physics at the University of Waterloo, was among 29 college/university students awarded scholarships at the 30th annual Markham African Caribbean Canadian Association (MACCA) awards ceremony last week.
He plans to pursue a career in technology using magnetic levitation to make trains run faster and more efficiently.
“My goal is to work on these trains in Japan,” said Wheatle who graduated this year from Sir William Mulock Secondary School in Newmarket
The high speed maglev trains float over a guideway using the basic principles of magnets to replace the old steel wheel and track trains. Instead of using fossil fuels, the magnetic field created by the electrified coils in the guideway walls and the track combine to propel the train to speeds of up to 603 kilometres an hour.
Japan Railways has been testing their train to figure out the best operational speed for a planned route between Tokyo and Nagoya, scheduled to begin service in 2027. The five-hour car journey is expected to take about 40 minutes by the maglev train.
Antithetical to speed, Bubune Francois spoke in a calm and measured tone about her enthusiasm for teaching.
“There were teachers who impacted me when I was in elementary and high school,” she said. “If I was struggling with a subject, they would pull me aside after school and work with me to help improve my grades. That is what teachers are supposed to do and I want to be one of them.”
Migrating from Ghana eight years ago, Francois graduated from St. Robert’s Catholic High School in Thornhill and is enrolled at York University.
The teenager is extremely grateful for the financial assistance.
“It will help me move a step closer towards realizing my dream of becoming a teacher and impacting the lives of children,” Francois added.
Twins Osten and Sierra Conville have a few things in common. They include music and pursuing academic excellence.
She sang ‘Killing Me Softly’ and he performed Mary Wells’ ‘My Guy’ on the saxophone at the awards ball.
The siblings graduated from Stouffville District Secondary School and are enrolled in the mechatronics engineering program at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Carleton University’s journalism program respectively.
Their father, Stephen Conville, owned the Moncton Miracles, a Canadian professional basketball team in Moncton, New Brunswick, that folded this year. He was also the president and chief operating officer of the defunct Halifax Rainmen of the National Basketball League of Canada.
“It just seems as if our dad is good at everything,” said Sierra Conville who plays the flute and has a passion for dance. “When I approach him with a problem, he’s always like, ‘I know to do this’ or ‘I have been through this before’.
Their grandfather is long-time Jamaican Canadian Association member Dr. Vince Conville who attended the celebration.
“He taught us that having a good education and doing community work are important,” said Osten Conville. “When he’s going to a community event, he would always encourage us to go with him.”
Conville was awarded 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 founded the MACCA in his basement in1987 and served as the organization’s second president a year later. He died in a tragic accident in 1995 and his family launched the award in his name 19 years ago.
Osten Conville and University of Guelph biomedical sciences student Abdullah Chanzu were the recipients of scholarships presented by MACCA’s first winner, Michael Went, 30 years ago.
He was the only awardee at the inaugural event.
“What I remember most about that night was the inspiration I got from that scholarship to excel in my studies,” said Went who has an undergraduate degree in urban & regional planning from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of Business Administration from York University. “It made me feel like there was truly a community behind me and it also helped to alleviate some of the financial pressure. That scholarship lifted me and fell important and now is my turn to help lift others.”
Went, who is fluent in Spanish and is a Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto Sunday school teacher, joined the Ontario Treasury Board secretariat last week as a senior economist.
The theme of this year’s celebration was ‘Dare to Exceed the Vision’.
“Before I knew the theme, I was convicted that I would challenge our awardees under the acronym DARE,” said keynote speaker Dr. Mansfield Edwards. “In this competitive world, good is no longer good enough. Dream, therefore, to excel. Dreams, which are cherished aspirations, move individuals from good to exceptional, from mediocrity to success, from status quo to the exceptional.”
Edwards challenged the scholarship winners to be thermostats instead of thermometers.
A thermometer reacts to and reflects what the surrounding temperature is,” said the Ontario Conference of Seventh-day Adventists president. “A thermostat reflects the temperature and expresses influence on its external circumstances. This philosophy, therefore, can transform you from being a follower to a pacesetter. Let no one determine your future. Carve out your place in society and make contributions that are memorable.”
He also dared them to dream dreams, articulate their vision, realize their potential and evaluate their lives periodically.
“Don’t get drawn into negative opinions of yourselves by others and don’t keep looking back at your failures,” Edwards added. “Remind yourself that the rearview mirror is always smaller than the windshield. So spend your time looking forward.”
The other scholarship winners were aspiring high school teacher Mylan Allen who is majoring in French at the University of Ottawa, Ryerson University professional communications student Isabel Asuako who plans to pursue a career in either law or public relations, Quincey Banfield who is pursuing environmental studies at York University, University of Toronto paramedicine student Britney Cato, Emily Chang who is enrolled in Carleton University’s political science program, Markville Secondary School valedictorian Dasola Dina who is in York University’s communication studies program, Queen’s University life sciences student Sarah Douglas, Halston Dryden who is pursuing business economics at York University, University of Ottawa Health Sciences student Peola Ellis, Danielle Hassan who is pursuing a science degree at the University of Western Ontario and Brock University medical science student Zabrina Kerr wo plans to become a pediatrician.
Scholarships were also presented to Janae Knott who is majoring in finance at the University of Toronto, Brandon Lanns who is enrolled in York University, Keyareh Drakes who is in the veterinary technician program at St. Clair College, aspiring journalist Ayomide Oyewunmi who is honing his craft at Seneca College, University of Waterloo environment & business student Bailey Pryce, Uvina Persaud who is enrolled in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts & Science, Jelani Small who is in Ryerson University’s financial mathematics program, Durham College mechanical engineering student Destri Yhap, Jayden Robinson who is majoring in economics & financial management at Wilfrid Laurier University and Jada Johns who is pursuing political science studies at McMaster University.
Siblings Shae and Tsahai Carter, who are pursuing human kinetics and political science studies respectively at the University of Ottawa, and aspiring educational psychologist Amy Dyer who is a freshman at Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, were unable to attend the event.
Since 1987, MACCA – with the unyielding support of generous donors – has presented 314 scholarships worth $268,750.
Outgoing MACCA president Pat Howell was presented with a special award for her vast contributions to the organization.