It is graduation season and it is an honour to share that the ONE City Scholarship went to four young women who are full of promise. Two of the young women who were awarded are a part of the Downsview community and remind us of the brilliance seeded right here in our neighbourhood.
Bernadine Bartlette of Downsview Secondary and Tajeah Noble of C.W. Jeffreys Collegiate were standouts amongst 13 of the candidates from across Toronto that were shortlisted for the ONE City Scholarship. Bartlette and Noble, along with Yusra Habibiy of David and Mary Thomson Collegiate and Abinayaa Parameswaran of Forest Hill Collegiate, were awarded the $2,500 scholarship.
Taejah is a dynamic community-minded student and will be attending Guelph/Humber University to study Family and Social Services with a minor in Justice Studies. Her work as a mentor, a student leader and as a high-achieving academic have brought her high praise from her teachers. It is easy to see why she receives so much high praise especially when Taejah explains, “I must give credit to my barriers as they have shaped me as a person and influenced me to remove those similar obstacles for others in any way that I can.”
Bernadine is a determined student who is graduating from Downsview Secondary School and will be attending Sir Wilfred Laurier University in Kitchener to study Political Science. She has had moments in her life where she wanted to give up, but there is something inside her, a kind of bravery, that will not let her quit. As Bernadine would tell you, “It is an insult to the universe to believe you can predict all possible outcomes, and it’s an insult to yourself to give up on goals and aspirations because you don’t understand how it will happen.”
The ONE City Scholarship Fund is an initiative of TDSB educators and their community partners in support of remarkable students. Its mandate includes supporting students with scholarships and other supports, communicating with the broader Toronto community about the awesome potential of our youth, and letting our city’s youth, especially those from challenging backgrounds, know that they are to stay encouraged.
Taking on the lens of a compassionate educator, the award was designed to support students that have excelled academically and demonstrate a commitment to their personal growth despite facing significant challenges in their daily life. When the minimum wage was scheduled to increase to $15/hour it was determined that a $2,500 award, which is distributed over a two-year period, would help students reclaim 100 hours of their school year. They could use those hours to focus on their studies or carve out much needed time for self-care.
More urgently, and in the context of cuts to student grants and loans which the current government has cut by $670-million, the scholarship is a measure of upholding the right to education by prioritizing equity seeking students in their post-secondary journey.
The Fund is administered by Toronto Foundation, a community foundation that enables the philanthropy of individuals, families and groups across the city. The ONE City Scholarship Fund is also supported by Toronto Foundation for Student Success and is led by educators.