ONE City Celebrates Toronto’s Best Good News Story!
OUR WINNER PROFILES
The ONE City Scholarship Fund is run by educators who want to celebrate the remarkable young people graduating from Toronto high schools, especially those who find a way to overcome major challenges and excel.
As part of our celebration, we are offering this year four scholarships of $2500 to four very deserving young people, who exemplify what is best about Toronto’s youth.
Below, please find the profiles of the four winners of the first ONE City Scholarships. We are so excited to share their stories with you.
We are so lucky to have these fine young people growing up in our city. They have overcome so much and have already made important contributions to their communities. They are shining examples of the thousands of young people who have committed themselves to building positive lives in Toronto, even while they have had to face so many obstacles. Toronto talks about ‘Diversity our strength’, but we can all do more to recognize the vast potential of our young people, especially those who have faced challenging circumstances. In so many instances, they have faced hardship and found in themselves resilience, optimism, and creativity. They embody the key to the best of Toronto’s future.
ONE City Scholarship Fund Fund is administered by Toronto Foundation, a community foundation that enables the philanthropy of individual, families and groups across the city.
The ONE City Scholarship Fund is supported by Toronto Foundation for Student Success and is led by educators.
Esmat Sahak is an exceptional student who is heading to University of Toronto to study Engineering Science. His teachers at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute are so enthusiastic about him. He is collegial, a mentor to younger students and has a strong social conscience. He sees problems as opportunities. He is already planning to build drones that don’ t drop bombs but deliver medicine instead. His family moved from Afghanistan and settled in Flemingdon Park before he was born here. Esmat and his family have faced the challenges of being new to Canada, but no obstacle has kept him from building towards a life that is full of promise and achievement.
Hajar Seiyad, who attends Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, has a deep independent streak, and yet she is committed to others. As a child of Sri Lankan immigrants who did not have the benefit of an extended education, Hajar, understands the value of the opportunities she has been given. Her keen observation of others has allowed her to see the great need for positivity and grit among the youth of Flemingdon Park. She has volunteered in many areas of Mental Health and will be studying in this field at the University of Toronto, Scarborough Campus next year. She has been particularly interested in academic achievement and self-esteem; after volunteering with community tutoring and facilitation initiatives, she has begun her own tutoring service for students six to fifteen.
Naqeeb Barak, who attends Jarvis Collegiate, is proud he lives in Regent Park. What he has experienced there is a community that is inclusive, supportive and warm. He has used this positive environment to develop his own leadership. He arrived in Toronto at the age of 11 to rejoin his family who had emigrated earlier; he and his family had spent years in Pakistan after fleeing there from Afghanistan, leaving everything they had owned, including the farm that had been in the family for generations. Naqeeb spoke no English when he arrived here. A mere six year later, Naqeeb has seized the opportunities he has been given, become fluent, and immersed himself in organizations that support others: Me to We, Muslim Students Association, Mental Wellness Club, LGBTQ Club, Pathways to Education, Muslim Welfare Centre, Christian Resource Centre. He is planning to pursue a Bachelor of Science.
Nathan Devlin, who attends East York Alternative, has gained admission to OCADU to pursue illustration after a very positive portfolio review earlier this year. Through his art he is committing himself to communicating the experience of LGBTQ teens; he has contributed to three murals for his school and has helped curate, install and promote several art exhibits for at-risk youth at the Gladstone Hotel and XSpace Cultural Centre. Not only is Nathan the first in his family to attend post-secondary, he is also the first in his family to finish high school. He is a poised young man who is embracing the possibilities that await him.