Thank you to all those who have applied for the 2016 Young Scholar Award! Our Young Scholar Selection Committee has been carefully reviewing all applications from across Ontario. Due to the overwhelming number of applicants, the selection committee decided to select a total of 10 finalists this year (listed alphabetically by last name).

2016 Young Scholar Award Recipient

Yvonne Feng

School:Harbord Collegiate Institute, Toronto
Grade: 12

Yvonne was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. For all four years at Harbord, she has consistently achieved awards for academic excellence, including the Kensington Foundation Award 2016, the Harbord Club Frances A. Robinson Award 2015, the Kensington Foundation Award 2015, and the Harbord Club Ronald Dagilis Award 2014. Over the course of her high school career, she has consistently represented her school at various conferences, business competitions, and programs. Last year, she was accepted into SHAD 2016, a competitive summer enrichment program focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

Yvonne continues to contribute to the non-profit community, and has recently received the Certificate of Appreciation from Mon Sheong Foundation. Outside of academics, Yvonne is most proud of her accomplishments across her 13 years of piano studies. Currently, she is working towards her ARCT Performer's examination in August 2017 with the Royal Conservatory of Music. In her spare time, she enjoys assistant badminton coaching, performing piano, and drawing. In the future, Yvonne plans to continue her musical pursuits and studies in business. Yvonne will be studying commerce at Queen's University Smith School of Business.

2016 Young Scholar Award Finalists

Jordan Dearsley

School: King's Christian Collegiate, Oakville
Grade: 12

Jordan is a hardworking, determined and outgoing high school student. He is self-motivated and independent student with high honour achievements. He was elected Prime Minister at King's Christian Collegiate, and thrives on working and guiding other students to reach their full potential. Jordan is an efficient team member with the ability to adapt easily. He is involved in various clubs and committees at school, also holding executive positions in the Model United Nations and DECA groups, in which he excels as an effective communicator, dynamic leader, and active role model in his community.

Jordan is extremely passionate about computer science. By starting his programming education at the age of 9, he learned the fundamentals of programming which brought about his unique problem solving abilities. In 2014, he volunteered for the CODE Hackathon, which gave hm the opportunity to watch developers create and implement programs utilizing the Canadian government's Open Data. Jordan is not afraid to go above and beyond expectations. He am a half-year ahead in high school with four independently studied AP courses under his belt (Computer Science, Psychology, Microeconomics, and Physics 1). In the summer of 2015, he took internship at Extreme Innovations Inc., a business startup accelerator/incubator.

Joshua Eisenstat

School: TanenbaumCHAT, Toronto
Grade: 12

I have attended Jewish Day School throughout all my years of schooling. My dedication to my Judaism does not end with my daily studies, as I attend synagogue daily for prayers. My Judaism is something that I cherish very much, and in fact next year I will be taking a gap year in Israel, in order to learn about the history and culture of the Jewish people and grow as a person religiously. This coming summer I will also be going to Israel with an under 18 soccer team for the 20th Maccabiah Games to represent Canada. Sports have always been an essential part of my life, and have taught me about discipline and commitment. Throughout my four years at TanenbaumCHAT, I have played on the flag football team, softball team, cross country team, tennis team twice, basketball team twice, and soccer team four times. In addition to school and extra curricular sports teams, specifically competitive soccer and hockey, I have been honoured three times for academic achievements. My involvement in the community has also been an essential part of my life since starting high school. Over the years, I have led prayer services at my synagogue, attended my synagogue daily for prayers, was a youth leader at my synagogue and run hockey practises for young kids every Sunday morning. After my gap year in Israel, I plan on studying sciences and then furthering my studies in health sciences.

Sydney Goan

School: St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School, Aurora
Grade: 12

Sydney Goan lives in Aurora, Ontario and is currently in her final year of high school and plans on pursuing her dream of studying at University to become a Dentist. Sydney continues to work in a Dental Clinic just outside of Aurora to gain and acquire experience in the field she hopes to one day be part of. Over the course of her high school career, Sydney has been an active student, she has been involved in Peer Mentors, Peers Tutoring Peers, Best Buddies Program, KLAW (Kolbe Leaders At Work) and the President's Council and participated in a variety of varsity sports teams. Sydney was selected as the student to receive the Catholic Education Foundation of Ontario (C.E.F.O.) Catholic Student Award 2016 for St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS.

Sydney has regularly been among the top Honour Roll students, being named as top ten students and maintaining status on the prestigious Principal's List. Sydney has earned accolades for the highest marks in grade 11(subject).

Outside of the school, Sydney spends a significant amount of time getting involved in her community. Most recently Sydney was chosen to receive the RBC make 150 count and went out to her community to donate her award. She visited the local OSPCA and donated much needed supplies and funds to put towards emergency VET services.

Sydney enjoys spending time with her friends, working at the local golf course when not at the Dentist office and spends her summer teaching school age child First Aid, Red Cross Babysitting Courses and Red Cross/Royal Lifesaving Society level swimming lessons.

Simardeep Kaur Grewal

School: Castlebrooke Secondary School, Brampton
Grade: 12

I plan to graduate high school and after my post-secondary studies become a math teacher. Through this profession, I am looking forward to foster the young minds of the future leaders of our country. Throughout high school, I have maintained an above 90% average and have been on the honour roll since grade 7. I have also received the subject proficiency last year in grade 11 for both World Religions and Anthropology, Psychology, and Sociology, and was recently recognized for my academic standing for Grade 12 English, with Castlebrooke's Knight Award. Around the school, I am also part of the Morning Announcement team, Peer Math Tutoring, and the Castlebrooke Sikh Student Association and, I also volunteer at the Brampton Library as a program assistant (helping the library staff with various educational programs for children). One such program is the Homework Help Program, which gives students from grades 4-7 a chance to come in and get assistance for their homework. After graduating, I still plan on volunteering with this program, and by further improving upon my communication and leadership skills, I am striving to be a mentor and positive role model for the leaders of the future.

Elaine Hu

School: Harbord Collegiate Institute, Toronto
Grade: 12

The clubs/teams I'm in are the Laws In Action Within Schools (LAWS) Mock Trial Club, the Harbord Debating Society, the Harbord Japanese Culture Club, the chess club, the Harbord Rugby Team, the Harbord Business Club, Christian Fellowship, and the school's tutoring club. I am the president of both the Harbord Debating Society as well as the Harbord Japanese Culture Club. At my past elementary school, I've been a member of the chess team there as well. I attended tournaments hosted by the Chess Institute of Canada and emerged as a finalist in a TDSB Chess Championship. I'm also a proud contributor to the LAWS Mock Trial Club, where my team and I prepare for and attend trial tournaments. One of my proudest achievements is having received an award for having the "Best Direct-Examination" at the 2015 Toronto Mock Trial Tournament. Criminal law is a true passion of mine and has shaped the visions of my future; my career goal is to become a lawyer and argue in the Supreme Courts in the name of justice. In between my extracurriculars and school, I love to find time to attend to my hobbies: reading, writing, drawing, and playing the piano as well as the bass guitar.

Yael Morris

School: North Toronto Collegiate Institute, Toronto
Grade: 12

Yael has a love for music, and has been a member of, and a teacher's assistant for The Viva! Youth Singers of Toronto Choir for 3 years, where she has performed at Canada's Walk of Fame gala, the Teddy Bear Gala for the Children's Aid Foundation, and Roy Thompson Hall. Yael leads 50 singers weekly as the soprano section leader for her school choir, and is Music Council President at her school. She has led a variety of initiatives to provide all students with more musical and performing opportunities, and recently raised money for the Redwood Women's Shelter.

Apart from music, Yael has a passion for sports, as she played on the North Toronto Huskies Rep Basketball Team for 7 years, her high school basketball team for all 4 years, her school's varsity rugby and ultimate frisbee teams, and she also participated on Toronto's basketball team in the JCC Maccabi Games international tournament, where they won gold 2 years in a row.

Yael has been involved in many other initiatives, groups and committees within her school, such as the Charity Week Committee, the Environmental Action Team, Model UN, Peer Assistant Leaders, the Jewish Culture Club, class representative on the student government, the Violence Against Women assembly, and the Holocaust education assembly where she recently helped organize a schoolwide initiative to raise money for holocaust survivors living below the poverty line. In a few weeks, Yael will be travelling to Morropon, Peru on a volunteer mission with Kindness in Action, to better the lives of people living in impoverished communities.

In the future, Yael hopes to study business in university, and aspires to combine her qualities of leadership and social justice, with her entrepreneurial spirit.

Sarah Odinotski

School: Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School, Markham
Grade: 12

Born and raised in Unionville, Ontario, Sarah Odinotski is in her final year of high school and aspires to receive an education in engineering. By acquiring the skills needed to solve problems and developing techniques to make procedures more efficient, she aims to make an impact that will provoke technological progression in society. Throughout high school, Sarah has received many opportunities to strengthen her problem solving and critical thinking skills, such as participating in DNA Fingerprinting Labs and in the McMaster Science and Engineering Olympics. She is also an appointed Executive on iSci, a science and math tutoring program, where she works to encourage and inspire students to explore the science and math domains.

Sarah strives to couple her passion for science, with her desire to give back to her community. Since the age of eleven she has volunteered at many camps, where she commits to going above set expectations to empower campers, and received many leadership and volunteerism awards for her outstanding commitment and mentorship.

She's also involved in teaching and running many community programs, such as the Learn to Skate for children, where she uses her position to be a role model, mentor and inspiration to her students.

As one of the eldest girls on her hockey and ringette teams, Sarah takes on the role of a leader, and mentors her fellow teammates. Many of her coaches picked up on her ardor for team empowerment, and she has been recognized by her associations.

Sarah believes that encouraging and inspiring others to pursue their passions, is the key to success in the future, and is the start to making a lasting mark on the advancement of society.

Vishva Shah

School: Bur Oak Secondary School, Markham
Grade: 12

From a young age, Vishva strives to make a difference in the community and achieve excellence in academics, arts and leadership.

She has been a vibrant community leader at the Markham Public Library as a TD summer reading club mentor for young children and public speaking summer camp volunteer. She attained a surgical ambulatory co-op position at the Mackenzie Health hospital, volunteer placement at a pharmacy and was the vice-president of the Vanik Samaj of Toronto (non- profit cultural organization) youth committee.

Over the past four years, with a desire to increase school spirit, she has become an executive of her school's Science Club, member of her school1s first HOSA chapter (Health Science Competition) and award winning Science Olympics Team member. Currently, as the director of her school's Student Events Council, she leads a team of enthusiastic students to organize the first Outdoor Movie Night and school events such as Spirit Week, Semi-Formal for over 300 students.

Some of her accomplishments include being chosen at a national level to attend the SHAD Queen's 2015 program, awarded the Health Care and International Languages subject awards and school Science Star for two years for her contribution and excellence. She is a dedicated student and has now graduated after learning classical Indian dance for over 10 years.

Vishva is planning to pursue a career in health care to fulfill her passion to better serve the community.

Muneeza Sheikh
School: Bishop Reding Catholic Secondary School, Milton
Grade: 11

Apart from my regular academic responsibilities, I am the Vice President of the United Nation Foundation's Girl Up chapter at my school, as well as the Syrian Refugee Family Sponsorship Committee where I lead, manage and coordinate advocacy events and fundraisers, such as bake sales and issue-themed weeks for the school to partake in. I also write blog articles for Her Culture magazine, an award-winning media site dedicated to preserving women's culture worldwide. Furthermore, I am a High School ambassador for Her Campus Media, the #1 media brand exclusively for college (and high school) women where I learn skills for the marketing industry such as digital media, journalism, writing and publicity. I am also a High School Scholar for Harvard College's Leadership Review program, where I work with an editor to craft articles relating to leadership in the real world. I also demonstrate my passion for women and girl's rights by serving as a Youth Speaker at Plan International's Speakers Bureau. Through these diverse experiences, I have expanded my horizons to acquire valuable skills such as strong communication, leadership, collaboration, and time management skills to contribute to my personal development, as well as helping me maintain and build a positive attitude and outlook towards things. In the future, I aspire to be a doctor, and my current goal is to do well in school, as well as discover what my true interests are!