Recipients & Finalists

 

2019 Young Scholar Award Recipient


 
 
Image

Abhayjeet Singh Sachal
School: Seaquam Secondary School 
Grade: 12

 

Abhayjeet (Abhay) Singh Sachal is a 17-year-old Canadian humanitarian, environmentalist, and activist who believes that engagement in dialogue and conversation can serve to spark change around the world. After a trip to the Arctic in 2016, Abhay co-founded Break The Divide Foundation, a non-profit organization that connects youth around the world with one another. Based on principles of environmentalism, sustainability, and reconciliation, Break The Divide focuses on fostering dialogue and understanding to inspire action projects in communities.

Image
Image

Abhay has been a key presenter at numerous international conferences in his efforts to share environmental knowledge and personal experiences. He is also an avid ice hockey player and pianist. Next year, he will be starting a Bachelors in Science at the University of Toronto as a National Scholar.


2019 Young Scholar Award Finalists

 
Image

Ann Nguyen
Bishop Allen Academy 
Grade: 10


Ann has always been passionate about youth and civic engagement. She has been serving the Education Lead of the Toronto Youth Cabinet for three years. She is also an advisor on the Etobicoke-Lakeshore Constituency Youth Council and was part of the core team of the #PutWard11onTheMap campaign. Ann is a DECA International Finalist for the community public relations campaign she led in order to combat textile waste in her community. Finally, she is a champion of local and grassroots organizations, having been a photographer for the Christie Pitts Film Festival and an Identify N' Impact grant panelist with the City of Toronto. Through her work in advocating for accessible programs, Ann is dedicated to providing equal opportunities to youth of all socio-economic backgrounds. In the future, Ann would like to study political science or law, and one day work in government herself to be a voice for those often unheard.

Image

Catherine Cadigan
Weldon Secondary School 
Grade: 12


Catherine has worked to give youth a platform to share their voice on issues of local, national, and provincial interest in addition to helping youth overcome barriers to success. She founded the Moon Time Challenge, an education and collection program that sent 7,500 menstrual products to Indigenous women and girls in Northern Ontario, as well as creating a Christmas present collection program for abused women and their children in her community. Catherine started and lead her school’s Model United Nations team and federal Member of Parliament nonpartisan youth advisory group. She served as her school’s representative at the board level, advocating for the needs of the student body while creating and implementing youth-focused programs in her school. Catherine will be attending Queen’s University in the fall to begin a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education. She would like to pursue a career in public policy and law.


Image

Chloe Jakob
Leamington District Secondary School
Grade: 12


Growing up just outside Point Pelee National Park, Chloe has always loved being outdoors. Whether she was in her backyard fishing with her family or camping and biking at Point Pelee, Chloe can always be found outside. She is the President of her school’s Platinum-certified EcoTeam, working to promote positive environmental habits in her community’s everyday lives. As a Youth Environmental Ambassador with Essex Region Conservation Authority, Chloe has participated in many habitat restoration projects and reforestation events. Besides her environmental activities, she is also a 3-sport varsity athlete at school, playing volleyball, badminton, and softball. Chloe aspires to study Marine and Freshwater Biology in the Fall because she is very passionate about protecting water sources. Chloe wants to help to ensure that the community has enough clean water for today and future generations, all while keeping the ecosystem below the surface healthy as well. 


 
 
Image

Hargun Kaur
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute 
Grade: 12


Hargun is in TOPS at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, a program for high-achieving students with accelerated curriculum in math, sciences, and English. She has been volunteering at her local hospital for the past four years and was a member of her local MP's youth council. She is a passionate advocate for youth mental health and co-founded a council to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. She also served as the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care at the Ontario Legislative Assembly's Model Parliament Program. Hargun has taken on a prominent leadership role in her community as a senior member of the YMCA's Youth Leadership Development Program, in which she has organized multiple community events. In pursuit of becoming a physician, Hargun will be completing her Bachelor of Medical Sciences at Western University.


Image

Jeremy Antonio
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
Grade: 12


Jeremy is an aspiring engineer who believes in STEM’s potential to improve the world. He is an advocate for STEM in his community and strives to inspire others to share his vision. As the leader of his high school’s robotics club for 4 years, he mentored generations of young members and provided his peers, primarily students in his low-income neighbourhood, an opportunity to engage in robotics. His ongoing contributions have given students in all grades exposure to engineering and encouragement to pursue a career in STEM. Jeremy leads by example: Last summer, Jeremy completed an internship at Sunnybrook Hospital Research Institute, developing a Solder Reflow Oven, a device that allows the lab's engineers and researchers to make the specialized circuit boards that they need for developments in cutting-edge ultrasound technologies. He will continue to innovate and inspire at the University of Waterloo, where he will study Mechatronics engineering.


Image

Julie Van
Grant Park High School 
Grade: 12


Julie is a highly involved member of her school community, Julie holds many leadership roles such as co-president of the student council, co-chair of the gender-sexuality alliance, co-president of the Youth for Political Action club, reading the daily announcements, emceeing various school events, managing her school’s social media, and being the lead student organizer of her school’s mental health awareness week. Julie is also a member of numerous other groups in her school and community, and has dedicated over 600 hours of her time to volunteering over the years. Julie will be attending the University of Western Ontario this upcoming September in their Management and Organizational Studies department with AEO status, working towards entry to the Ivey Business School’s HBA dual degree program. She plans to study finance and international business, and potentially pursue this path in a dual degree with law or political science.


 
 
Image

Keneisha Charles
Rutland Senior Secondary School 
Grade: 12


With a passion for social and environmental justice, Keneisha is an active organizer and advocate within her community. Upon entering high school, she quickly immersed herself in her school Diversity Club to provide a safe space for all students, regardless of their ability, culture, gender identity, religion or sexuality. As a Black, lesbian woman, she is a fierce voice for diversity and is a prominent public speaker in her community. She additionally advocates for mental health as a youth advisor for Foundry Kelowna, an integrated youth mental health centre revolutionizing the way youth access services. In 2017, she founded Operation Take Two, a youth-led waste reduction initiative revolutionizing the global issue of waste by packing everything needed to recycle plastic waste into a repurposed shipping container—creating a self-sustaining community hub for youth-led creativity, education, and empowerment. Keneisha will be attending Ryerson University in September 2019 to study Social Work.


Image

Naira Bahrami
Seaquam Secondary School 
Grade: 12


Naira is from Calgary, Alberta and will be attending the University of Toronto for a dual major in International Relations and Architectural Studies. She founded a city-wide arts camp, StarFlySavers, in 2016 with the vision of educating future generations about mental health. To date, she has mentored and reached over 600 children and has led informational sessions that emphasize self-care. She has also started a petition to Alberta Education, urging the province to implement programs like StarFlySavers in schools. Her petition currently has 16,000+ signatures supporting the betterment of future generations. Along with this, she is Alberta Lead with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health's National Youth Council. Her hope is to continue to advocate for mental health care and services.


Image

Nicole Mensah
St. Edmund Campion Secondary School
Grade: 12


Throughout high school, Nicole has devoted her time to acts of volunteering and hard work to achieve her future goals. Joining the National Youth Mentoring Advisory Council with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is a major achievement of Nicole’s. As the youngest member to join, Nicole believes this demonstrates that, despite her age, she can still achieve success if she is committed. Nicole intends on studying health sciences next year to pursue a career in the medical sciences to eventually become a doctor. Nicole believes she will thrive in a career that allows her to combine her interests in science and philanthropy. She will continue to work hard, and dedicate her time in order to successfully attain these goals.


 
 
Image

Stephanie Quon
Eric Hamber Secondary School 
Grade: 12


Stephanie is a high school senior from Vancouver who is passionate about environmental sustainability, mental wellness, and empowerment. Stephanie started the Sprout-Save-Share initiative, an organization that engages youth in projects focused on minimizing waste, such as collecting end-of-day produce to donate and encouraging others to be more aware of their plastic use. She is also involved in many clubs at her school such as the Compassion Club, where she organizes fundraisers and plans events that provide volunteer opportunities to students. Stephanie also volunteers at her local science center and children's hospital. Stephanie will begin studying engineering at the University of British Columbia in the fall, and plans to continue serving the community through running Sprout-Save-Share and joining clubs in university.


Image

Victoria Leung
Bayview Secondary School 
Grade: 12


At school, Victoria has been involved in student council as vice president, her school’s prefect organization, and DECA. She is also a member of Richmond Hill’s Youth Action Committee, OMS Toronto, and MP Majid Jowhari’s Constituency Youth Council. Last year, Victoria co-founded an organization, Emerge, that educates students about entrepreneurship. Victoria has been playing piano throughout her childhood and earned her ARCT diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music. In her spare time, she tutors high school students and volunteers. She loves giving back and helping charities to make a difference in people's lives. She is highly fluent in several languages and enjoys different cultures. Her goal is to be able to become an ophthalmologist in the future. She plans to attend either Medical Sciences at Western University or Health Sciences at McMaster University.


 
 
 

2018 Recipient

Image

Aidan Brushett
School: Anderson Collegiate
Vocational Institute
Grade: 12


From a young age, Aidan has participated in education-based wilderness trips to remote regions of Canada, sparking a lifelong passion for the natural world that surrounds us. He founded his school's EcoTeam, and he is quite involved in sustainable global development initiatives. As a member of the Ontario Nature Youth Council, Aidan's advocacy for native pollinators has led to formal recognition of both his school and the Town of Whitby for new pollinator conservation strategies. He is currently organizing an environmental summit for the Durham District School Board.

Aidan firmly believes that young people have a unique ability to make their voices heard to promote positive, collaborative change in their communities, and strives to share this dream with others. He seeks to combine his future education in Wildlife Biology with his love for all things green to continue generating the 'conservation conversation' and advocate for our common home--the planet.