Council of Caribbean Associations-Canada awards ten scholarships

 By Lincoln DePradine

The degree programs of the students are as diverse as the post-secondary institutions they’re attending. Each student was thankful for the receipt of financial sponsorship through the Council of Caribbean Associations-Canada (CCAC), and they were admonished to value their education.

Afiya Hypolite

“Education is the key to making sure that outcomes are favourable for you and your family,’’ Afiya Hypolite, a Family Services—Child Protection Worker, said in delivering the keynote address at CCAC’s 2023 awards of scholarship and bursaries.

The award recipients – whose career interests include law, school teaching, business management, computer science, fashion design, health sciences, psychiatry, communications, social psychology and human resource management – are attending Seneca Polytechnic, York University, McMaster University, Queen’s University, Toronto Metropolitan University, and Guelph-Humber University.

The bursary and scholarships, according to CCAC, are distributed to students for their “academic efforts, community involvement and contribution in the Caribbean community in Ontario’’.

Kenya James

CCAC, a registered non-profit umbrella organization launched in 2009 and comprising Caribbean national associations in the Greater Toronto Area, says the awards’ purpose is also “to encourage and assist youth from Caribbean countries that are currently resident in Ontario to pursue their educational goals at university or college level’’.

This year’s winners are Lenron Doyle; Amanda Sullivan; Kezia Harley; Azalee Lambert; Savannah Green; Gabrielle Forbes-Cultess; Noah Fergusson; Davisha Joseph; Sydney Telfer; and Kenya James.

The students’ tuition aid packages were a combination of private, individual donations, as well as corporate support from entities such as Grace Foods Canada Inc., Bedessee Imports Ltd., Arbor Memorial and Seneca Polytechnic.

Apart from bursaries of $1,000 each, Lenron Doyle received a full tuition-paid scholarship from Seneca Polytechnic valued at $6,000 annually for four years.

“We’re committed to ensuring that a Seneca Polytechnic education is accessible for everyone who wants to study with us. It’s wonderful that our partnership with CCAC has become a template for partnership with other community organizations,’’ said Dean Hughes, Seneca’s executive director of advancement and alumni.

He told Doyle and the other awardees that they have “incredible futures’’ ahead of them, and also saying that Seneca Polytechnic combines “the best of the college and university education and we offer a seamless transition into employment’’.

“Uplifting the Next Generation: Investing in Education’’ was the theme of this year’s bursary and scholarship presentation.

Hypolite, in her keynote address, noted that it once was illegal for Black people to learn to read and write. However, they never stopped trying to educate themselves, she added.

“We must value the opportunity at an education,’’ said Hypolite, a former University of the West Indies and York University student. She’s also a Master’s degree Osgoode Law School graduate, who is pursuing licensing to become a practicing family lawyer.

“I want to encourage you to be an agent of change. Use this opportunity to learn, grow and pass on your knowledge. What you do today may inspire someone tomorrow,’’ said Hypolite.  “Learn your history, hone your craft, invest in your education, uplift the next generation.’’

Gideon Exeter, the CCAC president, encouraged the involvement of additional sponsors of student awards.

“You’ll be helping a young person in our community, of Caribbean descent, to achieve their educational goals,’’ he said. “I look forward to CCAC continuing this program for many years, beyond the lifespan of Gideon Exeter.’’