Natalie Li is a tremendous achiever who epitomizes the school motto of “Nulli Secundus – Second to None”. In addition to earning an average last year of 98.71 %, she has also accumulated the highest number of community service hours of the student population. Natalie is also an accomplished athlete. Her devotion to competitive figure skating is remarkable in that she is the only NOTL skater in the club’s 48-year history to qualify for a competitive stream national event, the Skate Canada Challenge, where she placed 27th in Canada. She is currently working on achieving the “Diamond Dances”, the top level of figure skating. She is an active member of the A.N. Myer Key Club and the Yearbook Committee. She has attended numerous seminars and conferences in order to develop her skill and passion to share her knowledge and expertise with youth in a leadership role. Natalie can best be described as diligent, dedicated, curious, intrinsically motivated, and undaunted by failure and at the same time extremely well grounded. Natalie will attend the Scholar’s Electives program for Medical Sciences at the University of Western in the fall. The staff of A.N. Myer Secondary School is proud to recognize Natalie Li as their Excellence in Education winner for 2017.
Krithika is an outstanding student, role model and leader at Beamsville District Secondary School. She is an excellent student who has maintained a high honours academic standing in all four years at BDSS. While consistently maintaining an overall average above 95%, Krithika took on the extra challenge of the Brock University Physics Immersion Experience. She was also a member of the BDSS Jazz Band, choir, and the School Reach team. She enjoyed taking part in the school musicals as well, whether that be acting or playing in the orchestra. In addition to her academic achievements, Krithika strives to be a student leader. She has been a member of Student Council since gr. 10 and is this year’s Student Council president. Outside of school, she helped bring out student voice by acting as facilitator at the DSBN Student Voice forums, and sits on the DSBN Student Senate. Throughout her four years, Krithika has believed in volunteerism as being an important part of contributing to the community. She split her time between volunteering for Community Living and the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in the past four years, receiving an Ontario Service Award and a WLMA bursary for her work. Krithika’s hobbies include singing, playing piano, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She is looking forward to attending McMaster University to study Health Sciences this September.
Congratulations Krithika – we wish you every success in the future!
Over the past four years, Karling Luciani has served as an excellent ambassador for our school, become a leader board-wide as Student Trustee and province-wide after being selected to be on the Minister’s Student Advisory Council. Soft spoken, this remarkable young woman is able to command a room with ease, is well respected by our staff and more importantly, by her peers. She played a critical role as Communications Chair for DSBN’s first Step Past the Stigma Walk for mental health awareness. Inclusion and student mental well-being are always a focus for her when she is planning events as Student Council Prime Minister and chair of the Safe School Team. Karling set out to create an environment at Centennial where no student would ever eat alone, as council had a purpose of creating connections and friendships. In grade 9 she earned our Paul Allison Memorial Award for most outstanding new student. Since then, she has served on our Relay for Life committee, mentored grade 9 students, participated in the school musical, was a member of the environmental club and played on our volleyball, basketball, softball, ball hockey, rowing and tennis teams. As a result of her contributions, Karling was awarded Youth Citizen of the Year in 2016 by the Welland/Pelham chamber of Commerce.
Karling has earned a position on Centennial’s honour roll every year and will graduate with an average of 94% and a Specialist High Skills Major in Health and Wellness. Karling has made history at Centennial by being our first student to receive a University President’s Scholarship at the University of Guelph. She will be attending the Bachelor of Science Honours program with a major in neuroscience.
The Faculty of DSBN Academy congratulate Zachery Harrietha as our first Excellence in Education award recipient. From the time Zachery entered our school in grade 7, he distinguished himself as a student leader dedicated to his new school community. What truly stands out is his personal integrity in all aspects of his life. Zachery is fair-minded, loyal and consistently elects to act according to his convictions. This has earned Zachery the respect of his peers, school staff and community leaders. Academically, he has exceeded a 90% average each year and was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Loran Scholarship. He has also contributed to our sports program as a member of the badminton, basketball, soccer, track & field, and volleyball team. His athletic ability extends beyond our sports program as a team captain for the Niagara Regional Soccer Program. Zachery has applied this same dedication to his leadership as a member of our elected Student Voice, the DSBN Student Senate and as an Ambassador for our school giving countless presentations and tours each year. He has embraced all opportunities provided to him and has been an exemplary role model for future graduates. Zachery will pursue an Honours Science Degree at Brock University and we are confident he will embrace their school motto “Surgite!” meaning “Push On!”. Congratulations Zach!
In grade 9, Kassy Sparks walked into Eastdale and began her leadership journey. She joined student council, and immediately jumped into the role planning spirit week, fundraising activities, and dances. She has been part of Student Council ever since, enriching the school experiences of her peers, helping to design lifetime memories for our students. Kassy has taken advantage of all of the opportunities high school offers; she has been a leading member of the concert stage band, the percussion ensemble, and the arts council. Kassy represented Eastdale on the basketball, volleyball, slo-pitch, soccer, and ball hockey teams. She is involved is all aspects of school and has a tremendous amount of school spirit.
Kassy is part of the DSBN Student Senate, facilitator of the Student Voice Forum, involved in the Scientifically Yours at Brock University and the Central Ontario Leadership Seminar at the University of Toronto. Kassy has been the school champion for the Cayley and Galois Math Contests. Her academic achievements are outstanding, earning a 94 % average this year. She has been on the honor roll every semester of secondary school and as a peer tutor; she volunteers her time to help our junior math students. Kassy plans to study either Kinesiology or Forensic Science at University in the future. She is a role model and true leader and we are proud to award the Excellence in Education Award to Kassy Sparks.
Eva is an exceptionally talented young lady who has taken full advantage of the many opportunities available in high school and even created her own. She is a gifted student who excels in all of her classes. Eva has been involved in many areas of school life. She has been in Concert Band, the Equity Club, and served as a peer mentor. In her senior year Eva was on the Student Council executive and was heavily involved in the Public Relations committee. The highlight of the year for Eva was participating in Eden’s TEDx talks. She spoke on the topic, “What do your grades mean?”, where she passionately discussed how numbers do not define a student’s potential. Outside of school, Eva has been just as ambitious. She is involved with the Federation of Canadian Secondary Students where she was the chairperson of the Student’s Bill of Rights Committee. She was also appointed to the Ministry Student Advisory Council, which is an initiative of the Ministry of Education of Ontario that hears opinions on student issues. These committees allow her to ensure that students’ opinions are heard and valued, which is very important to her. The future is bright for Eva. She will be attending McGill University next year to study International Management with the hopes of applying that knowledge to some form of non-profit or human rights organizations.
Sydney’s commitment to excellence is unwavering as she pursues her dream of a career in medicine. In Syd’s words, “there IS a physician inside of her” and she will devote her life to serving others.
With integrity and perseverance, Sydney balances her time between academics, leadership and extra-curricular activities including: choir, marching band, soccer, skiing, peer tutoring, Student Council, student ambassador, DECA, Interact and yearbook. Her leadership skills have taken her to COLS Leadership Camp, Brock’s Scientifically Yours and McMaster’s MacMeducation. Syd is a competitive dancer, accomplished pianist, and has volunteered with Feed My People, Special Olympics, Dance Place, Pelham Food Drive and Canoe Niagara. Last year, Sydney received a research bursary awarding her a placement with Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University where her research team was so impressed, they asked Sydney to submit her paper, “Exploring Clinical Epidemiology” to the Foundation for Student Science and Technology. Syd’s outstanding accomplishments have resulted in her acceptance to the Scottish Canadian Medical Programme at the University of St. Andrews, University of Edinburgh and University of Alberta over the next 6 years.
Sydney believes happiness comes from hard work and determination, and that serving your community will provide you with a rewarding career path. Embracing everything she does with energy and academic inquiry, we know that Sydney’s future path will include a brilliant and successful future.
We congratulate Kaitlyn Riemer as the recipient of this year's Excellence in Education Award. An excellent and dedicated student, she embodies all of the characteristics DSBN aspires all students to have. Our community recognizes her because of her commitment beyond the boundaries of the school. Kaitlyn has achieved a total high school average of 95.25%. She has not achieved a mark under 95 in her last two years and has earned two grades of 100, with a current grade of 99 in Data Management. Kaitlyn is able to attain these incredible grades while completing, well over, 120 hours of community service, as President of Students' Council and volunteering with Girl Guides.
To highlight the kind of person Kaitlyn is, she spent hours knitting hats and scarves to donate to Cope, spent time making crafts to send to Haiti, and also made crafts that were sent with Meals on Wheels delivered during the Christmas season. She has volunteered in soup kitchens, Heartland Forest, participated in shoreline clean-ups, developed programs and helped run camps for younger girls, and spent time at the Fort Erie Public Library tutoring elementary school students in reading, writing, mathematics, and problem-solving skills.
Kaitlyn Riemer is a remarkable young woman with a bright future. Her commitment to her school and her community demonstrate her dedication to excellence. We thank you for your devotion to our school and our community, and congratulations on all of your achievements! We wish you the very best in your future endeavours and know that you will make us all proud to have been a part of your secondary experience.
Governor Simcoe Secondary School is very proud to present Sama Nanayakkara! Sama is an avid volunteer with over 1000 community service hours. She has volunteered with several organizations including Out of the Cold, the Niagara Health System, the Niagara Symphony Orchestra and Incommunities, and as such, has been recognized nationally for her volunteer contributions by the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. She is also an active member of her school community by taking part in the school’s jazz band, Student Council, and Simcoe Outreach Society. Sama is a champion of human rights and social causes; it was under her initiative that the group Students for Equality was formed. Through this organization she organized the Indigenous Walk to support the Chanie Wenjack Foundation. Sama has also been a coxswain for the women’s rowing program at Simcoe for the last four years and won gold at the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Championships. All of this while having an impressive academic average of 98%! Sama has been described by faculty as, “a natural born leader who shines through example”. Congratulations Sama!
It is an honour to present Tori Waite as the face of Grimsby Eagle school spirit. Regardless of the activities she is involved in, Tori is enthusiastic and always smiling. She is a highly motivated, responsible, enthusiastic and approachable person who always puts forth her best effort. One look at her resume reveals a young woman who excels in academics, leadership, improv and athletics in our school and in the community. Tori goes above and beyond what is required of her and has positively influenced a great number of people.
Over 4 years, Tori has consistently maintained a 95+% average. This year she is graduating with two final grade 12 marks at 100%. Impressively, Tori is able to maintain her academic success while excelling in a variety of extracurricular activities. She has demonstrated her leadership abilities as a key member of the GSS Improv Team, Camp Eagle leader and Eagles Mentor. She was the team leader writing the successful grant application for a Speak Up project.
Tori is also an accomplished athlete and is able to achieve a healthy balance in her life. Tori competes in numerous sports while still finding time to spend with her friends and family and volunteer at local charities. Tori’s involvement in school and community life is admirable. She volunteers as an on-ice instructor teaching 3-5 year olds to skate, and greeting at the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. Tori is heading into a career in medicine as a pediatrician or family physician. There is no doubt that she will continue on the path of excellence. She is a prime example of the positive impact young people can make in their school and in the wider community. We are proud of you, Tori! Congratulations!!
Rachel DeGasperis is an enthusiastic and passionate member of Laura Secord Secondary School. Her hard work is evident through her involvement and achievements. In her grade 12 year, Rachel had the pleasure of being Head Prefect, Editor of the Yearbook, and Co-Head of Laura Secord’s Christmas Club. She is also an active member in several school clubs such as Green Club, Take Action, Prom Committee and Art Club. Rachel was given the opportunity of being the curator of Laura Secord’s art show, Amalgamation, and had the privilege of being a cast member in Laura Secord’s production, The Dragon, for the Sears competition.
In addition, she has received several academic achievement awards throughout high school for Community Service, English, Drama, Visual Art, Psychology, and Canadian Law. She was also granted the amazing opportunity of being a Rotary Medalist nominee and was voted the 2017 Valedictorian by her fellow classmates. While working part-time, Rachel maintained a current average of 97 percent. Rachel has volunteered for Niagara Region Public Health’s Sun Hut Committee as well as their Youth Advisory Committee.
Rachel is fascinated by social justice and politics and will explore her interests at the University of Toronto this fall. Rachel demonstrates her reliability and kindness through interactions with students and faculty. She is thrilled to represent a school as talented, welcoming, and accepting as Laura Secord.
Sharon Leon has returned to school as an adult learner, to complete her secondary school diploma and prepare herself to pursue post-secondary education. She started at Lifetime Learning Centre in credit computer courses , and achieved her Microsoft Office Specialist certification. She is currently completing the science and mathematics courses she needs for her post-secondary program, and is the top achieving student in all her courses. Sharon demonstrates excellent independent study skills and time management abilities, as she manages a home business, the demands of a family, and attends the Lifetime Learning Centre full time. She is a cheerful, positive presence in any class, and is always helpful and patient with her fellow classmates. Sharon is an active participant in the school’s fundraising and charitable events, as well as contributing to community and social activities. She is a talented baker, and decorates cakes and cupcakes for special events in the community. She has often volunteered her time and talent to produce hundreds of cupcakes for school fundraisers and celebrations. In addition to volunteering at Lifetime Learning Centre, she volunteers at her son’s school, where you might find her flipping pancakes on Pancake Day, in order to support providing enjoyment to the students.
Sharon has succeeded through the challenges of being an adult learner. She has demonstrated a high degree of energy and dedication in the balancing of academic, family, and professional demands on her time. Sharon is a great example of what an adult learner can achieve, and an exemplary candidate as the Lifetime Learning Centre’s Excellent in Education award recipient.
Hollie Sonnenberg is an outstanding example of a “true blue” Blue Bear. She has involved herself in the life of the PCHS community by participating in a range of activities that include the French Club, a member of this year’s production of High School Musical, Athletic Council, Basketball, Volleyball, Softball, and Ball Hockey. Outside of the school day, Hollie has been kept busy coaching a youth soccer team for two years, planning, promoting, and running the school’s Athletic Banquet, and working a part-time job. Hollie is an active member of the SHSM Health and Wellness program. Last year Hollie was recognized by the school’s Athletic Program with the Blue Bear Award, which is rarely awarded to a student in grade 11, to recognize her contributions to the program and school community. She is an asset to Port High for Hollie is a person who rolls up her sleeves to take on whatever challenge lies before her. Next year Hollie will be attending Cambrian College to a study a year of pre-health as she decides to pursue a pathway to becoming a paramedic or medical imaging technologist. Port Colborne High School is proud to nominate Hollie for this prestigious award.
Ridgeway Crystal Beach
We are proud to present Quynn Gilmour as the 2017 Excellence in Education recipient. A few words that best describe Quynn are: empathetic, dedicated, conscientious, high achiever, involved and talented. She is involved in all aspects of school and community life. At RCBHS, Quynn has been a member of the Mentoring Program where she assisted grade 9s with their transition into high school. She contributed to the DSBN Student Voice Forum as a participant as well as Student Voice facilitator. She is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of Students’ Council and Quynn is also one of the founding members of the RCBHS Safe School Climate Committee. She has been actively involved in the committee for the three years of its existence, helping to create a positive and collaborative atmosphere within the school. Quynn has made significant contributions to the greater community, as she has volunteered with the Peacock School of Dance throughout high school. Working with the younger students has taught her patience, perseverance, and dedication. Dance has also helped to expand her creativity and imagination. According to Quinn, when it comes to being a leader in a dance class, it’s not just about teaching the steps, but strengthening the self-esteem of the children and building their confidence. There is no doubt that Quynn will be successful in her future endeavours. She has been accepted to the Concurrent BSc/BEd-Intermediate/Senior: Chemistry Major program at Brock University. She is looking forward to furthering her education there, where she plans to continue helping others.
Sir Winston Churchill
Madison has been an Honour Roll student throughout high school, maintaining an academic average above 95% every year. Her commitment to her studies is commendable, but her willingness to share her energy and her leadership in other activities, while maintaining such a high average is what makes Madison an exemplary student.
In her Senior Year, Madison served SWC as an Ambassador, running events and representing our school in a variety of forums. As a Peer Tutor, she worked one-on-one with younger students specifically in Math and Science. Madison was one of three senior students nominated for the Western National Scholarship, and won the Gene Luczkiw Spirit of Enterprise Award, which is awarded to a student who demonstrates the spirit of enterprise. Madison participated in The Brock Mentorship Program through SWC’s Co-op Department. She worked with two Brock faculty to assist in conducting a statistical analysis of the success of first year university math students, comparing high school marks and math entrance exams. She presented her results at the Regional Science Fair, and received the Brock University Math Award, to the Math Dept at Brock and also at Connect, Canada’s Learning and Technology Conference.
Madison has a passion for athletics, specifically Track and Field and Cross Country Running, and is a competitive Badminton player. Madison has competed at OFSAA Track every year, winning numerous events at SOSSA. In Cross Country, Madison has qualified for OFSAA in Grades 9, 10 and 11. Madison is the Captain of the Cross Country team this year, where she excels at mentoring and leading the other runners. Madison plans to study Business and Math at the University of Waterloo next year.
Egan is a remarkable young man who affectionately refers to himself as the bow-tie guy. Egan has worn a bow tie every day since grade 9. He has become an integral part of our school community and we are proud of him for gaining entrance into Brock’s coveted new program on Game Design. Egan earned one of 25 seats out of 2000 applicants.
Egan is resilient, hard-working and kind-hearted. He represents Stamford on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee and the Brock Youth Engagement Committee. He has been a member of our Student Council, Earth Day Committee, Interact, and School Band. He participates in cross country and soccer, plays tenor sax and volunteers his time to tutor other students in music and academic subjects.
Egan has also been involved in our Oddity Film Society, Trivia Team, Board Game Club, as well as our drama productions, all while maintaining honour roll status. Egan currently sits with a 95.83 average. Egan led a team of students to 2nd place standing after a heart stopping tie breaker at the 2017 Niagara Engineering Contest. Other accomplishments include winning a programming contest at Brock University and being awarded the University of Toronto Book Award. Egan is to be commended for his work with bringing an event titled, Porch Fest, a celebration of the arts, to Niagara Falls. Musicians and poets are invited to perform free-style on a designated porch in the City Centre. Egan is both performer and organizer.
Egan has a bright future ahead of him. Everyone at Stamford wishes him all the best!
St. Cath. Collegiate
St. Catharines Collegiate is proud to honour and recognize Laurene as our 2017 Excellence in Education recipient. Laurene is a true leader amongst her peers. She is a respected member of our student council, ‘Student Voice’, where she leads by example. She can be counted on to organize and promote numerous and varied school events and initiatives.
One of Laurene’s most notable contributions to life at Collegiate was her role in the creation of a Rotary Interact club where she serves as President. Laurene’s vision and intent of the Interact Club is to help youth to engage in their community while promoting Rotary’s motto of “Service above Self”. The Interact Club’s main focus this year was volunteerism, supporting organizations such as Community Care.
Despite her involvement in all of this, Laurene has maintained honour roll standing throughout her four years in high school. Beyond her leadership activities, she found a few spare moments in her day to participate in Dance Club and rowing as well. Her upbeat personality and positive energy will be missed by staff and students at Collegiate next year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish Laurene well as she heads to Niagara College next year where she is entering a Business Administration program. We wish you every success in life; we know you will do well in whatever path you set your sights on.
As you read through this bio, keep in mind that Noah is going into Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Waterloo. You will see how this is a good fit. Noah is Vice President of Student Council who believes his main role is to have everyone's voice heard in a round-table, non-heirachical format. In Slice of Heaven, our school play, Noah played the lead role of Mr. Miles Purdy, Senior Manager of Processing and Placement in Heaven. Mr Purdy, like Noah, listens to others and negotiates a settlement that everyone can be happy with. Noah has been a positive role model to his peers through his involvement as a Junior Mentorship Leader and a Student Trustee on DSBN's Student Senate. For four years, he has participated in Reach For The Top and the school play. Noah's quiet demeanour belies a very philosophical mind and a wicked sense of humour. Throughout his years at South, Noah has achieved his purpose of doing well and having fun. He has been integral in planning and executing many school events such as dances, banquets, Grade 9 day and spirit days.
Noah's 95% average earned him the President's Scholarship of Distinction from Waterloo. He has a growth mindset and is a natural at fostering a friendly environment in every group of which he's a part. He plans on getting into social or foreign work.
Ashraf came from Nigeria when he was 11 years old with his mother and three siblings. His father still supports the family from there and comes home twice a year. Ashraf has said that it is because he is an immigrant to this country that he appreciates the opportunities offered and works so hard to achieve excellence daily.
In grade 11 he had the highest overall average and this year he has an over 97% average. Somehow, he has managed to maintain this incredible average even with all of the many leadership initiatives he is involved in. He is our Students’ Council President, our Student Trustee Senate Representative and Senior Boys’ Soccer Team Captain. He volunteers at our Breakfast Club daily and is a volunteer at his mosque as well.
Ahsraf’s community-mindedness extends to our school and global communities. He has spearheaded Focus Week at our school where our Students’ Council educates and highlights important issues affecting our local and global communities: things such as Climate Change, Mental Health and Bullying to name a few.
Ashraf will be studying Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo in September and intends to pursue something related to Entrepreneurship in the future. We are so proud of Ashraf and know that he will be a leader in whatever field he pursues, but more importantly… he will be a leader who gives back to his community.
Westlane Secondary School is proud to honour Kunj Patel with the Excellence in Education Award. Kunj is an exceptional student, whose positive outlook; academic successes as well as his extracurricular and community involvement make him an excellent choice for this prestigious award.
Kunj strives for excellence in everything that he does. His commitment to learning is reflected in his 98% average, never earning below 93% in any course over the past 4 years. He has been a recipient of many awards, including, Principal’s Honour Roll, DECA International Finalist, Schulich nominee and this year’s Rotary Medalist.
Kunj is a leader within his school as well as his community. During his time at Westlane, Kunj has been involved in all aspects of school life, from Badminton, Volleyball, Student Council, REACH, and DECA (as an International Competitor for the past three years). Kunj supports his community as an active member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, assisting in the organization of various community event and volunteers regularly at the Greater Niagara General Hospital.
In September, Kunj will continue to make Westlane proud, studying Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo, with the hopes of owning his own company one day. Congratulations Kunj on all of your accomplishments, we wish you continued success in your post-secondary career.