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Sahar Abdalla Sahar Abdalla
Leaside High School
Toronto, ON

Sahar Abdalla Sahar Abdalla
Leaside High School
Toronto, ON

Recognizing the challenges faced by youth in one of Toronto’s most multicultural communities, Sahar became a Youth Director on the Flemingdon Park Parent Association. She started a drop-in homework centre for students from grades 4 to 6 and applied her French skills as one of the volunteer tutors. Expanding her work to impart life skills among youth, Sahar also organized leadership workshops and a soccer house league, in which she managed coaches and planned schedules. She also edited her student newspaper and was active on the school robotics team. . Sahar plans to study software engineering at the University of Toronto.


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Loizza Aquino Loizza Aquino
Institut Collegial Vincent Massey Collegiate
Winnipeg, MB

Loizza Aquino Loizza Aquino
Institut Collegial Vincent Massey Collegiate
Winnipeg, MB

Loizza became a social justice volunteer at age nine when the images of a typhoon in her native Philippines prompted her to fundraise for disaster victims and building schools in developing countries. In high school, she focused on mental health awareness after her best friend committed suicide. Loizza created Peace of Mind 204, a youth mental health support group that brings together students, speakers and performers to spark conversations on the issue. They later became the official youth advisory group to the Manitoba government. Loizza is considering a career as a lawyer or social worker.


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Yiqiao (Cindy) Chen Yiqiao (Cindy) Chen
Leaside High School
Toronto, ON

Yiqiao (Cindy) Chen Yiqiao (Cindy) Chen
Leaside High School
Toronto, ON

Cindy believes strongly in the power of learning. After tutoring a blind teenager in Beijing, she founded Vision Exchange, a non-profit program matching sighted English-speaking mentors with blind Chinese buddies for online classes and conferences. The program grew to 120 participants in three countries, helping Chinese blind people overcome their limited education options and fulfill their dreams. Cindy also ran music theory and science youth camps at the Victoria Park Hub community centre and founded her school’s first business club. After pursuing Engineering Science at University of Toronto, Cindy is interested in becoming a professor or economist, while continuing to be a freelance composer.


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William Chinnery William Chinnery
Leaside High School
Toronto, ON

William Chinnery William Chinnery
Leaside High School
Toronto, ON

Inspired by volunteers who made a profound impact on him as a young cancer patient, William has been dedicated to helping people ever since. He designed an online test registration process to help Special Education students register for support during tests which has been adopted by other schools. As part of the executive for his school’s Mental Health Committee, he organizes events and assemblies to stop the stigma regarding mental illness and help students cope with stress. William also introduces children with disabilities to technology and robotics at a children’s rehabilitation hospital, and provides ongoing audiovisual and technology mentorship to students from his elementary school. William plans to attend Ryerson University in Business Technology Management.


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Chaymae Chraibi Chaymae Chraibi
Cégep de Trois Rivières
Trois Rivières, PQ

Chaymae Chraibi Chaymae Chraibi
Cégep de Trois Rivières
Trois Rivières, PQ

Gaining inspiration and confidence as a participant in the international robotics competition, Robotique FIRST, Chaymae decided to make a similar difference for other youth. She set up an extracurricular robotics club at a local elementary school – the first of its kind for primary students in the region – and mentored more than 20 youth to research and build their own robots for team competitions. Chaymae also helped other immigrant youth with homework at a newcomers centre and volunteered at an Alzheimer’s patient facility. She would like to pursue a career as an industrial engineer.


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Martin-Olivier Dagenais Martin-Olivier Dagenais
Collége Jean-de-Brébeuf
Montreal, PQ

Martin-Olivier Dagenais Martin-Olivier Dagenais
Collége Jean-de-Brébeuf
Montreal, PQ

After volunteering at a summer camp with youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, Martin-Olivier realized how talented young people can be held back by their economic status. In response, he began Exception, a mentoring program for secondary school students in one of Montreal’s lower income neighbourhoods. With the mission of preparing tomorrow’s leaders, he raised funds for a scholarship and recruited college students to build long-term friendships with mentees. Martin-Olivier also volunteered at a homeless shelter and was active in student government. He plans to study politics, law and commerce at the University of Ottawa.


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Elijah Dietrich Elijah Dietrich
Kelvin High School
Winnipeg, MB

Elijah Dietrich Elijah Dietrich
Kelvin High School
Winnipeg, MB

As President of his school’s Environmental Action Committee, Elijah learned that leadership requires strong listening skills to understand others’ interests. To reduce the contamination rate of school recyclables, the group organized a student and staff competition to recycle correctly, plus other awareness, fundraising and lobbying efforts to improve school environmental practices. In addition to serving as Student Council Co-president, Elijah co-founded an entrepreneurial development program to empower students to start their own ventures. Elijah would like to become an entrepreneur, venture capitalist or politician after studying engineering and business administration at the University of Western Ontario.


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Kian Drew Kian Drew
Se’t A’newey Kina’matino’kuom (St. Anne’s School)
Conne River, Mi’kmaq Territory, Nfld

Kian Drew Kian Drew
Se’t A’newey Kina’matino’kuom (St. Anne’s School)
Conne River, Mi’kmaq Territory, Nfld

Deciding to take things into his own hands to create a more open-minded atmosphere in his small community, Kian established his school’s first Gay Straight Alliance. The group offers a safe and accepting place for his peers who struggle with their sexual or gender identity, while also educating all students to respect others who are different. Kian also became a dedicated Girl Guides leader, and organized practices and training activities as captain of his school wrestling team. Kian aims to study mechanical or electrical engineering at the University of New Brunswick.


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Émilie Dufour Émilie Dufour
Collège André-Grasset
Montreal, PQ

Émilie Dufour Émilie Dufour
Collège André-Grasset
Montreal, PQ

While Émilie discovered her love of science on her school robotics team, she was dismayed by provincial student drop-out rates and the fact that many youth don’t get to explore their own passions. She enlisted her robotics team to host free robotics workshops in primary schools to reach youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Over five years, they provided more than 4,000 youth with access to science and technology activities and the chance to realize their own dreams. Émilie also played the piano in a seniors’ residence and volunteered with St Jean’s Ambulance. She plans to study at McGill University and work towards a career in biomedical engineering.


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Jan Lim Jan Lim
Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
Vancouver, BC

Jan Lim Jan Lim
Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School
Vancouver, BC

Shocked by high child poverty rates in her province, Jan established Starts With One, the only youth non-profit group in Vancouver to address child poverty. Growing from a group of seven students to 200 volunteers, they held youth concerts and art shows to support the Mom to Mom Child Poverty Initiative, providing financial and emotional support to single mothers. Jan also founded the Senior Citizen Companion Club, to match students with the elderly, and performed TEDx talks to destigmatize autism and promote greater community spirit. Jan would like to study at the University of British Columbia and build a career as a biotechnologist, physician or social entrepreneur.


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Jathusha Mahenthirarajan Jathusha Mahenthirarajan
Richmond High School
Richmond Hill, ON

Jathusha Mahenthirarajan Jathusha Mahenthirarajan
Richmond High School
Richmond Hill, ON

After observing how cultural norms, in Canada and around the world, can leave women powerless, Jathusha founded Ontario’s first chapter of GirlTalk, a peer-to-peer girls mentoring program. By pairing high school and pre-teen girls to talk about issues ranging from body shaming to abusive relationships, they help females build self-esteem, leadership and community service skills. Jathusha was also a national Because I am a Girl spokesperson and formed a non-profit group to empower youth to fundraise for diverse causes. She hopes to study human rights and equity studies at York University, towards a career as a human rights lawyer, politician or public policy advisor.


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Twinkle Mehta Twinkle Mehta
Glenforest Secondary School
Mississauga, ON

Twinkle Mehta Twinkle Mehta
Glenforest Secondary School
Mississauga, ON

Seeing the growth of careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), but also the limited opportunities for students, and particularly girls, to explore STEM fields, Twinkle decided to do something about it. She served as President of her school STEM team, to interest youth in the profession, and organized an annual STEM conference that attracted 1,200 student delegates. Twinkle also started the Nahani Robotics and Engineering Club, through which high school students teach elementary students programming and robot design. Twinkle plans to study engineering at the University of Waterloo.


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Aspen Murray Aspen Murray
Hartland Community School
Hartland, NB

Aspen Murray Aspen Murray
Hartland Community School
Hartland, NB

Inspired by the national We Day events in support of Free The Children, Aspen rallied other students to form a We Act social action group. After fundraising to support a shelter for women fleeing domestic violence, they also organized coin drives for international development projects, purchasing 28 goats for rural families, plus Halloween food drives and participation in the local Relay for Life. Proud of the legacy that this club has provided for future students, Aspen was also active on her school and provincial students councils. Aspen plans to attend McGill University and work towards a career in human rights or international labour law.


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Jenita Poodwan Jenita Poodwan
Kelowna Secondary School
Kelowna, BC

Jenita Poodwan Jenita Poodwan
Kelowna Secondary School
Kelowna, BC

Recalling how she felt like an invisible newcomer at school, Jenita is proud that she transformed herself from a ghost to a leader. She co-founded the KSS Diversity Club to provide a safe space for students from racial, religious, sexual and gender minorities. The group fundraised for a local women’s shelter and hosted a presentation for school staff on challenges faced by minority students. Jenita also led a school board campaign to provide gender-neutral bathrooms, founded a mental wellness team and was active in a district-wide human rights committee. Jenita would like to study computer science at the University of British Columbia and achieve a career in technology, media or accounting.


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Cameron Rice Cameron Rice
New World Island Academy
Herring Neck, Nfld

Cameron Rice Cameron Rice
New World Island Academy
Herring Neck, Nfld

Hoping to re-invigorate community togetherness in an isolated fishing port, Cameron joined the Coming Home Year festival committee and organized a dory race that attracted more than 400 people. He decided to make the Herring Neck Dory Festival an annual event and gained the support of provincial politicians and the Atlantic Lottery Corporation. Cameron served as Co-president of the Student Council, hosted an annual community Christmas supper to share the holiday spirit and organized a benefit concert for the Canadian Cancer Society. He plans to study commerce at Memorial University.


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Bronwyn Roberts Bronwyn Roberts
Kinkora Regional High School
Kinkora, PEI

Bronwyn Roberts Bronwyn Roberts
Kinkora Regional High School
Kinkora, PEI

Growing up among potato fields but with a passion for fine arts, Bronwyn was disappointed when her school’s weekly art class was cancelled. In response, the grade six student began a before-school dance program and choreographed a piece for the school Christmas concert. Having run the club for six years, Bronwyn introduced many boys and girls to dance and increased school-wide awareness of the benefits of performing arts. She was also a leader and mentor at her local boys and girls club and in her church. Bronwyn hopes to study fine arts at York University, in pursuit of a career in dance therapy and education.


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Sahar Sajjadi Sahar Sajjadi
Sutherland Secondary School
North Vancouver, BC

Sahar Sajjadi Sahar Sajjadi
Sutherland Secondary School
North Vancouver, BC

As a recent newcomer to Canada, Sahar realized that she could adapt faster to Canadian culture if she joined activities that she was passionate about. After volunteering on youth health and science committees, Sahar began her own clubs to encourage student pride in their talents and multicultural backgrounds. Participants in The Rhythm Club demonstrate their music and dance skills while fundraising for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. In New2Canada Club, newcomer youth plan events to develop their leadership and communication skills. Sahar plans to study science at the University of British Columbia with the goal of a career as a neurologist or neurosurgeon.


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William Sanderson William Sanderson
Sydenham High School
Perth Road Village, ON

William Sanderson William Sanderson
Sydenham High School
Perth Road Village, ON

During the 2016 Syrian refugee crisis, William saw misinformation filter through his school about refugees housed at a nearby Canadian Forces base. To educate students about the issue, he organized an event in which refugees talked to students about their experiences, inspiring his classmates to fundraise for a refugee family. William also shared his passion for the outdoors through presentations about his Students on Ice expeditions to study climate change. He formed a school mental health group and coached football and basketball. William plans to study engineering or business at the University of Western Ontario.


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Ranbir Singh Ranbir Singh
Castlebrook Secondary School
Brampton, ON

Ranbir Singh Ranbir Singh
Castlebrook Secondary School
Brampton, ON

Raised in an immigrant community where drug and alcohol abuse, leadership barriers and youth disengagement were common, Ranbir started the Dream Big Leaders organization to empower racialized students. Now known as Aspire to Lead, the group drives positive youth expression through hip-hop and spoken word events and mentorship projects. They held a Dream Big Assembly at which CEOS and social entrepreneurs from immigrant backgrounds inspired students. As an elected Peel Board Student Trustee, Ranbir encouraged youth to be politically engaged. He hopes to become a human rights or criminal defence lawyer after studying international development at the University of Toronto.


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Yuhan (Angela) Wang Yuhan (Angela) Wang
Westwood Community High School
Fort McMurray, AB

Yuhan (Angela) Wang Yuhan (Angela) Wang
Westwood Community High School
Fort McMurray, AB

When Angela became the only youth delegate on the local United Way Community Investment Committee she realized how it can be hard for young people to find volunteer opportunities. She created SPARC, “Students Participating Actively and Responsibly in the Community,” so classmates can fundraise for the United Way. Following the Fort McMurray wildfires, SPARC packed and distributed more than 2,300 backpacks with school supplies for youth displaced by the disaster. Angela was Student Council President and taught traditional Chinese dance. She plans to study chemical or electrical engineering at the University of British Columbia.