Activate Student Success Awards honour high achievers

Activate Student Success Awards honour high achievers

June 14, 2018

For most people, Latin is a dead language.

Not for Domenic McVey whose school -- Eastdale Collegiate Vocational Institute – offers compulsory and elective courses in German, French and Latin.

The language of the Roman Empire is still evident in the fields of law and science which is another of the Grade 12 student favourite subjects.

“There is something about Latin that connects with me,” he said. “I am pretty proficient at translating it to English. Also, I think it’s sort of cool when I tell people I study the subject.”

McVey, who is the vice-president of his school’s art council, was honoured with the Power in Me scholarship at the Durham Black Educators Network (DBEN) sixth annual Activating Student Success Awards on May 10 at Pine Ridge Secondary School in Pickering.

The honour roll student has enrolled in Lakehead University’s natural resources management program.

“Algoma University and the University of Guelph were being considered, but I chose Lakehead because the classes are smaller and the program offers a lot of hands-on work which will give me the experience I am looking for,” said McVey who resided in England for seven years before returning to Canada in 2010.

He aspires to be a zoologist or conservationist.

Neeve Hay, like McVey, is the first member of her immediate family to be going to university.

Neeve Hay

Neeve Hay

The Donald A. Wilson Secondary School student has been accepted in Trent University’s education program.

“It’s an honour to be the first leading the way and I hope that those following me will pursue post-secondary education,” said Hay who was the recipient of the Mark Joel Trailblazer Award.

The Durham District School Board (DDSB) superintendent retired four years ago after 35 years in public education.

Hay is an active member of her school’s student parliament and the student leadership and mentorship programs.

J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate Institute graduate Omar Mitchell was presented with the Black Community Rise to Excellence scholarship for his leadership while maintaining an honours academic standing.

Omar Mitchell

Omar Mitchell

He was a student government and student council member and the Special Olympics basketball team special education leader.

Mitchell is pursuing fashion studies at Ryerson University.

“I love clothes and dressing well,” he said.

The aspiring model and creative director has taken a keen interest in the work of American fashion designer Virgil Abloh who is the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection and the chief executive officer of the Milan-based label, Off-White, which is a fashion house he started five years ago.

“He’s the person I look up to in the industry because of his creativity,” said Mitchell who played volleyball and basketball in high school.

Awards were presented to elementary and high school students for their leadership in school and the community. Selected by their teachers or administrators, the students’ nominations were reviewed by a selection committee comprising educators and community members.

A total of eight were chosen as this year’s award recipients.

Jemelia Allen-Brown, Niyonella Kamera, Trevin Noble and Salley Meseret were the high school winners.

Trevin Noble (l), Niyonella Kamera & Jemelia Allen-Brown

Trevin Noble (l), Niyonella Kamera & Jemelia Allen-Brown

Allen-Brown, who was on the honour roll every year at G.L Roberts Collegiate Vocational Institute where she played basketball and rugby and was a Student Council Prime Minister and a mentor and student ambassador with the Gay Straight Alliance group, has accepted an offer to attend Carleton University to study human rights and social justice.

She aspires to become a human rights & labour lawyer and politician.

Oshawa Member of Provincial Parliament Jennifer French taught Allen-Brown in Grade Eight at Glen Street Public School.

“She was the one that inspired me to consider politics as a career,” said the high school graduate. “She listened to me and I could engage her in conversations when it came to human rights and issues of injustice. I am still in contact with her and I have told her that I am coming for her job.”

Kamera, a graduate of O’Neill Collegiate Vocational Institute, intends to pursue international relations studies in university before going to law school.

As her student council’s Prime Minister, she organized several initiatives to support student connectivity to the community. They include the Can-Can Food Drive Challenge to benefit the Simcoe Hall Settlement House in Oshawa.

Kamera is the founding chair of her school’s Black Students Network.

Noble, who is in Grade 11 at Ajax High School, is an aspiring politician while Meseret, who is in Grade 10 at Donald A. Wilson Secondary School, is a member of the Ministry of Education’s student advisory council.

The elementary award winners were Westney Heights Public School Grade Eight student Amos Nimo, Chaya Jacobs who is in Grade Seven at Mary Street Community School, Michaelle Jean Public School Grade Eight student Raegen Montaque and Chandise Anderson who attends Westcreek Public School.

Raegen Montaque (l), Chandise Anderson, Chaya Jacobs & Amos Nimo

Raegen Montaque (l), Chandise Anderson, Chaya Jacobs & Amos Nimo

The DBEN Educator Award was presented to Camille Williams-Taylor, the Durham District School Board superintendent of education, human resource services and equity.

“Camille has helped to advance DBEN in its agenda and mandate, particularly in cultivating a strong partnership with the board,” said DBEN co-chair and Ajax High School principal Eleanor McIntosh. “She’s extremely intelligent, poised and passionate about children and equitable outcomes for all students.”

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