Scholarship recipients encouraged to 'pay it forward'
June 29, 2018
Unlike older brother Akeem Gayle who is a pilot, Evon Gayle has an intense fear of heights.
Nevertheless, the acrophobic is soaring to professional success.
The University of Windsor/University of Detroit Mercy second-year law student was among 16 recipients of scholarships & bursaries administered by The Dream Never Dies Foundation (DNDF) started 15 years ago to celebrate the memory of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University graduate Lloyd Skeen who died suddenly in February 2003 shortly after celebrating his 32nd birthday.
Gayle was awarded the $2,000 Darlene & Derek Quashie scholarship.
The Town of Aurora summer law student embraces law because of its effect on the lives of the society.
“Almost everything we do is governed by a law,” said Gayle who graduated from York University in 2016 with an undergraduate degree in law & society. “To be part of that important process is the reason why I pursued a legal career.”
His brother received an Urban Pilots Network (UPN) scholarship eight years ago.
“I am not surprised that he’s in law,” said Akeem Gayle who completed Seneca College’s Bachelor of Aviation technology program and is an Air Canada First Officer. “Growing up, he made arguments and knew how to defend them.”
With a love of flying and aircrafts, Maurice McCrae will use his UPN scholarship to complete the minimum 45 hours of training at the Brampton Flying Centre.
“This award brings me a step closer towards achieving my dream,” he said. “Aviation is something I always wanted to do.”
McCrae graduated with a computer science degree from the University of Technology in Jamaica and migrated to the Greater Toronto Area just over a year ago.
Not everyone is bold enough to publicly state they want to be Canada’s Prime Minister.
“Why not?” is always Roaine Coy-Pinnock’s response when asked why she has set the bar very high. “This has been my goal since Grade 10.”
The Strathroy District Collegiate Institute graduate was presented with the Mississauga Seventh-day Adventist Church (MSDAC) sponsored Nicholas Williams Memorial scholarship.
The Mississauga Pathfinder club member passed away in 2009 at age 17.
With Ottawa being the seat of government, Coy-Pinnock chose to attend the University of Ottawa to study political science, public administration and French Immersion.
Joren Wilson intended to be a church pastor.
He changed his mind a few years ago, believing he could make more of an impact on society as a medical doctor.
Wilson just completed his first year at Burman University where’s he’s doing a biology major and chemistry minor.
The MSDAC scholarship winner plans to specialize in internal medicine.
McMaster University third-year student Jayla Scott was proud to be the recipient of the Patrina Bailey-Holm Memorial scholarship. They attended the MSDCA.
Bailey-Holm died in October 2010 at age 36.
“I saw her occasionally in church and acknowledged her a few times,” said Scott who aspires to be a corporate lawyer. “She had a lovely spirit.”
Other scholarship winners were Mickael Faucher, Navtej Sandhu, Selene Grossett, Tega Aror, Fatima Abidi, Mya Sutherland, Milen Nagash, Nabeel Arshad, Andrew Winchester and Karl Loken.
Jovante Hercules was presented with the Rising Star bursary.
The scholarships dispersed at the awards ceremony amounted to $20,000.
The kind gesture to help young people complete their post-secondary education and the foundation’s name resonated with keynote speaker and defence lawyer Linda McCurdy, the daughter of the late Howard McCurdy, Canada’s first tenured Black faculty member and the New Democratic Party’s first Member of Parliament.
She has a law office in Windsor.
“We have an organization in Windsor, ‘Change Your Future’, and the difficulty I have always had with that name is that changing your future presumes that the future isn’t going to be good,” said McCurdy who was one of the few Black models in the Dallas area while attending the University of Texas in El Paso where she graduated with an English Literature degree in 1987. "When you are dealing with a scholarship fund that’s based on keeping the dream alive, it comes from a more positive point of view. I think that with all the negativity that’s going on in our communities today, keeping a dream alive is something that’s a more positive angle to come forth with to assist our children, particularly at a time when the most famous dreamers dream are being squashed all over the United States and where children going to school are told that their dream is not worth anything. It is important to have scholarship funds and organizations like this that are designed to motivate and help young people.”
McCurdy encouraged the winners to stay in touch with the DNDF and consider providing scholarship opportunities down the road.
“With this pay forward that you have received, I suspect that some of you will come back in the future and stand up as a donor for a scholarship for a young person,” she said. “I suspect that some of you will help carry on this organization when Jean Skeen (the mother of Lloyd Skeen) want to stay home and watch television.”
Greg Claxton, who met Skeen when they were part of an aviation program in high school, started a one-man Polar Bear Dip in 2015 that has raised about $15,000 for the DNDF. He skipped this year because of illness.
“Lloyd was a genuine person who was very passionate about aviation and science fiction,” said Claxton who also graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “He also knew a lot about the financial challenges students face while trying to pursue higher education. I remember visiting his rented apartment one time and seeing him removing four of the five bulbs above the washroom sink just to save money.”
Since its establishment, the DNDF has awarded almost $115,000 in scholarships.