2019-2020 Student Recognition Awards

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Student Recognition Awards celebrate excellence in student leadership. The students being recognized were chosen by their principals and/or vice-principals because they demonstrated initiative, supported by the will to succeed, the dedication to finish what they started, and the commitment to achieve their personal best. Watch the video below to see this year's recipients.

Read more about the recipients and nominees below.

Student Recognition Award Recipients

Lusia PardoLuisa Pardo

Adult High School

Luisa Pardo is an excellent example of commitment to achieve and complete good works on behalf of others. She arrived at Adult High School in February 2019. Her experience as a mathematics teacher in her native Spanish language has made her a dedicated learner of English. 

Luisa knew that interaction with others would improve her conversation, and she used math tutoring as a vehicle to develop these skills. At least two days a week, she helped with all levels of math. 

Students flock to Luisa for her clarity and patience. Her tutoring makes everyone smile, and her dedication is worthy of recognition.

Karen VoKaren Vo
A.Y. Jackson Secondary School

Karen has made a very strong commitment to the A.Y. Jackson school community as a positive role model in all aspects of school life. She has shown community leadership; been involved in groups, events, and activities; and fostered cross-cultural learning and understanding.

This year, Karen was the Student Council Co-President, having previously served on the Council in grades 10 and 11. She played a vital role in planning and organizing events such as spirit weeks, and spoke to parents at monthly School Council meetings. Karen also participated in the school’s Link Crew, Peer Tutoring, and Me to We club.

In the community, Karen has worked with GPI North America as a Communications Buddy for Japanese students. She helped with English lessons, shared Canadian culture, and guided field trip activities. She also volunteered as a physiotherapy assistant at Haley Rehab, which specializes in cancer rehab and lymphedema care. Karen is pursuing a career as a nurse, and her experiences, kindness, and care will be an immense benefit to all.

Nicole XuNicole Xu
Bell High School

Nicole has made a big impact during her time at Bell High School. She has been an excellent Student Council Co-President. She is incredibly dedicated and works hard to give everyone, in all grades and social groups, a chance to be included in school activities. She works very well face-to-face and is also effective with social media. 

Nicole has been the lead for the Biochemistry, We, GloBELL, and HOSA clubs, as well as a builder for Leadership Camp. She is also the Secretary of the OCDSB’s Presidents’ Council, all while maintaining an excellent academic standing.

Nicole's bubbly personality is contagious, and she works very hard to make sure all students feel welcomed and included. Students and staff speak highly of her leadership and all of the great things that she has done for the school community.

Jorja TashlinJorja Tashlin
Brookfield High School

Jorja embodies Brookfield’s motto, “Let’s go forward together.” She is an excellent student who sets high expectations for herself. She is a well-rounded leader inside and outside the classroom. 

Jorja cares deeply about her role as a LINK leader and takes this role very seriously. She is an excellent track athlete and shows her leadership skills by helping to coach the team and running practices. She is also an excellent trumpet player and band president who motivates and helps students along the way. Jorja is a positive role model who is always seen participating in school events such as Remembrance Day, Jazz Combo, spirit days, fundraising activities, and the Prom Committee. 

Jorja’s caring nature extends beyond Brookfield’s walls and into the community. The connections she makes with all students in the school exemplify the caring and inclusive environment at Brookfield. She will be missed!

Laura DaviesLaura Davies
Cairine Wilson Secondary School

Laura Davies is an exceptional student who leaves a mark of excellence wherever she goes. She embodies the commitment, pride, and respect that is the credo at Cairine Wilson, and is known to all of the staff as a highly reliable student.

Laura goes out of her way to motivate students to be productive members of the school community, and she ensures that her peers are supported when they need assistance. She is heavily involved in Link, which allows senior students to support junior students in navigating their first years of high school. Through her participation in the Student Council, she spearheaded many great activities and programs for the school. She was also an organizing member of the school Relay for Life Committee, which raises money for cancer research.

Whether Laura is peer tutoring in the Learning Commons or helping to organize a major program for the school, she does it with a smile. Her positivity and optimism are beacons of light for staff and students.

Audrey ThebaudAudrey Thebaud
Canterbury High School

Audrey is an example to everyone at Canterbury High School, excelling in her academics, her art, and her athletic endeavours.

Audrey’s presence can be felt from the start of the school day, with her involvement in the morning announcements, to lunch, when she organizes intramural activities as co-head of the Athletics Council, to after-school drama productions.

Audrey's smiling presence and her ongoing support for others have had a lasting impact on the Canterbury High School learning community.

Tip FinlessTip Finless
Colonel By Secondary School

Tip has had an incredibly positive impact on the entire school community in his four years at Colonel By. He has continuously demonstrated his leadership, dedication, creativity, and personal initiative in the myriad of activities he was involved in. 

Tip has been an integral part of all facets of life at Colonel By, whether he was serving as Student Council President, playing on the Varsity Football and Rugby teams, taking on a lead role in the school musical, appearing as anchor on CougarVision, excelling in class, or being a true friend to so many.

A leader, an athlete, a performer, and a scholar, Tip will be sorely missed at Colonel By next year and is truly deserving of this recognition.

April BennettApril Bennett
Continuing Education

April is a recent graduate from Continuing Education and also a staff member. She tackled her course work with the same vigour and enthusiasm that she demonstrates in her job, and successfully completed all OSSD requirements. The courage that it takes to make those steps as an adult speaks volumes about April’s character.

Everything that April does comes from a desire to build community, to support adult learners and teaching staff in achieving their goals, and to create an atmosphere of fun. April is a strong believer in the power of good and in helping wherever she can. She organizes team-building paint nights for the Continuing Education family and donates any profits to the Education Foundation. She is a member of the Continuing Education United Way planning committee and an active team participant.

Working in Continuing Education, April saw first-hand how proud adult learners are at graduation for making the decision to go back to school and consequently earn their OSSDs.  The team is incredibly proud of April and her achievement.

Amina El SharifAmina El Sharif
Earl of March Secondary School

Amina has achieved her personal best by helping her fellow students achieve their personal best. She has been an active member of Student Council and exhibited the Lion’s Pride by spearheading, organizing, and participating in many events, including Leadership Camp, Battle of the Grades, Relay for Life, and assemblies. 

Amina has been dedicated to her studies and personal growth. Despite having faced hurdles over the years, she has invariably seen the big picture and worked with her teachers to overcome obstacles. In return, she mentors and celebrates her peers. Amina provides a voice for students in numerous ways, including speaking to CBC Radio about student life and contributing to an article about learning from home.

It is fitting that Amina has spent much of her time at Earl of March on the Girls’ Basketball team – a sport that relies heavily on the principles of cooperation. Her powerful sense of citizenship and pride has left a lasting impression on students and staff.

Clifford LewisClifford Lewis
Elizabeth Wyn Wood Secondary Alternate Program

Clifford has been a student at Elizabeth Wyn Wood for the past four years. His contributions, positive attitude, and sense of humour have made him a pillar of the school's community. 

An accomplished musician, Clifford has had a great influence on the school's art scene. He has supported Elizabeth Wyn Wood’s partnership with Youth Net's Artist Mentorship Program (AMP), producing and performing at an Arts Evening hosted by the school’s AMP mentor. 

Clifford has also organized and performed in a number of coffee houses at Elizabeth Wyn Wood to share his talent with students and staff. He performed some of his own songs, as well as very creative and interesting covers of many hits.

Ava MunroAva Munro
Frederick Banting Secondary Alternate Program

Ava is a friendly and outgoing student with a strong work ethic and commitment to learning. She excels in math and science courses, with a career plan that builds on her love of scientific inquiry. Due to her desire to learn and strong attention to detail, Ava has had a rewarding co-op experience at Agriculture Canada, where she is an assistant to a Research Scientist at the prestigious Canadian National Collection of Insects in Ottawa.

Ava has shown excellent leadership qualities, enthusiastically taking on a student leadership role for a number of school-wide initiatives, including the Banting Green Environmental Club and community Wellness Days. She has also been a student leader of the Diversity Group, which was formed to support and celebrate students of various backgrounds.

In the community, Ava has taken a leadership role in her personal activities. She teaches figure skating, and in the past she has taught karate and worked at horse stables. She is a kind, compassionate, and dedicated student.

Phoebe SeelyPhoebe Seely
Glebe Collegiate Institute

Phoebe is a leader who chooses and spreads kindness. Her compassion and perspective allow her to connect with people and make a difference. As Co-President of the Student Council, Phoebe demonstrates sound judgment and ensures opportunities for student voices. She is driven by creating a culture of belonging. A strong public speaker, Phoebe communicates effectively and inspires listeners through her messages.

Phoebe supports many initiatives and clubs at Glebe Collegiate Institute, including Ensemble, TWIGS, LINK, Key Club, and the student-led Mental Health Awareness program. She is exemplary in working with teams to organize school and community events. She has also started her own charity, Giving Gertie – a not-for-profit that raises money for local charities that give to those in need.  

Phoebe is a three-time recipient of the Silver Medal Award for outstanding academic achievement with an emphasis on Science, Math, Music and French Immersion Studies. Staff speak highly of Phoebe's creativity, communication skills, critical thinking, wonderful work ethic, and kind, caring demeanour. 

Fatimah KarimFatimah Karim
Gloucester High School

Fatimah is a dedicated student who shows initiative and leadership inside and outside the classroom. She is a responsible, conscientious and committed student who pays attention to detail and has excellent organizational and social skills. 

Fatimah has been a very involved member of the Link Crew, organizing events for grade 9 students and mentoring new Link Leaders. She was also a pivotal member of the Holiday Hamper food drives, reaching out to community members and arranging donations for families in need. She has organized many events, such as Paint Night, Ubuntu, Grade 9 Academic Follow Ups, and Gator Games.

A talented artist, Fatimah is completing a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) with a focus on art and is lead Ambassador for the school’s SHSM programs. In the community, she volunteered to create an art program for young children, participated at Blues Fest, and painted a sensory mural at Crystal Bay Centre for Special Education. Fatimah has a passion for giving back and leaves a lasting impression on all.

Cory Dignard-KerasCory Dignard-Keras
Hillcrest High School

Cory is a conscientious, hard-working, and resilient student. She is known for helping other students who are struggling, and she does so while maintaining a 90% average.

Cory’s love of music is obvious to all who know her. She has been a member of every musical ensemble at Hillcrest, including the OCDSB All-Star Band. She is also a member of Orkidstra, a community music education program. Cory has served as a mentor to grade 9 students, volunteering to hold clarinet sectionals during her lunch hour. She was also the student director for the clarinet choir this year.

Cory has been a significant contributor to the yearbook and will also graduate with her Arts and Culture Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) seal this year. She represented Hillcrest with pride at the National Arts Centre’s 50th Anniversary Golden Gala and Music and Entrepreneurship discussion. Cory has overcome challenges while still being an ambassador of goodwill. Her contributions to school and community will be greatly missed.

Eric HuangEric Huang
John McCrae Secondary School

Eric is a kind and conscientious individual who goes out of his way to support other students as a mentor and resource. He is hardworking and dedicated to his studies, but he also has a fun-loving side that demonstrates his friendly and approachable demeanour. Eric works with others in generating creative solutions and uses a wide variety of strategies to solve problems.

When leading the Programming and Math Club, Eric always had time to work with everyone, including beginners. He took it upon himself to welcome new members and mentor them. His passion for this club led him to participate in several programming competitions and hack-a-thons. He was also a leader in the school’s Robotics Club. 

Eric regularly demonstrated his commitment to the community. Among his many initiatives was the development of a website and app to facilitate ElderLift, a student organization dedicated to helping seniors in the time of COVID-19. Eric demonstrates character, leadership, academic excellence, and willingness to serve others.

Mark BainMack Bain
Lisgar Collegiate Institute

Mack has shown tremendous growth, overcoming challenges to accomplish their goal of becoming the first member of their family to attend university, including moving from the college stream to the university stream. This required tremendous tenacity and the will to succeed, and Mack could be found daily in the library studying to ensure success. 

Mack was a major contributor to the drama program at Lisgar Collegiate Institute, landing a key role in the production of Vimy, and helping behind the scenes as well as performing in Mary Poppins. Mack is a dedicated member of the Indigenous Culture Club, and this year was one of the student heads of the Lisgar Leadership Camp. Mack stood out as a true leader during the fall training, mentoring younger campers, developing great ideas for the camp, and employing an equity lens in selecting Skill Builders.

Mack has demonstrated outstanding organization and leadership. They will be entering Indigenous Education, where they will make a difference and contribute to the teaching profession upon graduating.

Siyona Kassel	Siyona Kassel
Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School

Siyona has had a positive impact on Longfields-Davidson Heights. She was the lead organizer for the school’s Relay for Life this year, which raised over $46,000 dollars for cancer research. She has been a member of the Student Council for the last four years; as Videographer, she created videos and collages that promoted Student Council activities.

Staff describe Siyona as a reflective leader who is always kind and supportive to others. Her work ethic, initiative, and attention to detail have allowed her to flourish in the classroom, where she has consistently achieved level four marks. 

Siyona has an understated style of leadership with a focus on getting the job done. She does not need the spotlight; she puts her energy into the task because she believes in what she is doing and wants to produce quality work. Siyona's influence can be seen in many leadership initiatives at the school, and she will continue to make meaningful contributions to the larger community in the future.

Olivia PlouffeOlivia Plouffe
Merivale High School

Olivia (Liv) is an encouraging, supportive student who excels in the arts and is planning her studies to teach the sciences she loves. She motivates classmates by always being prepared and ready to participate, and she inspires others by quietly taking academic risks herself. Liv is a humble student whose exemplary contributions will be truly missed when she graduates.

This past year, Liv, relying on her previous experiences as the lead of the school production of Newsies, voluntarily became a vocal coach for the cast of Matilda. It was a tough year, and she held the cast together. As a Cappies Critic, she wrote excellent reviews, travelling late at night and in winter snowstorms, and motivating teammates to get their reviews in on tight timelines.     

People are always comfortable around Liv. On school excursions, she made sure that younger students or students without 'buddies' were included to share experiences with her. Liv thoughtfully, quietly makes other people feel secure and valued.

Rachel LowenbergRachel Lowenberg
Nepean High School 

Rachel demonstrates an exemplary work ethic, personal initiative, and passion for change in our world. As co-leader of the Nepean High School Environmental Club, she has organized events, from tree planting to nature documentary screenings. She attends environmental workshops and symposiums, creating partnerships with local organizations. She has also been active in Ottawa Youth Services Bureau initiatives, raising money and awareness for at-risk youth.

Rachel has made a true impact through her tireless work on the school’s Model United Nations Club. She organized local and provincial trips, and this year, co-organized an inter-school Model UN conference of more than 50 student delegates from the OCDSB. She was also involved in a nuclear disarmament initiative with Model UN students from across the capital region. 

Rachel leads in a professional, calm, kind, and organized manner. She is generous with her time and support, and she always makes her peers feel appreciated. In the words of one of her teachers, “no circumstance is an obstacle” for Rachel.

Isabelle BladIsabelle Blad
Norman Johnston Secondary Alternate Program

Isabelle Blad (Izzy) has made exceptional contributions to the school environment at Norman Johnston. Izzy is a leader who is respected and admired by her peers. A natural motivator and teacher, she supports her peers in achieving their personal and academic goals. She inspires students and staff with her non-stop positivity and motivates students to engage in their classwork. 

Izzy believes in the abilities of others and helps them learn to believe in themselves. Students and staff admire her ability to easily diffuse conflict and offer insightful solutions. She listens to the voices of others and advocates for those unable to speak for themselves. 

Izzy is honest, selfless, and giving. She will carry these characteristics into the greater community, where she will pursue an education and career in social work. She is truly a model student in her continuous support of those around her, no matter what obstacles of her own she has had to overcome.

Breeana Elliott Breeana Elliott 
Osgoode Township High School

Breeana is a kind student who always displays integrity and is an enthusiastic participant in everything she does. She is a high academic achiever whose habits have earned her a Silver Medal for all four years of high school. 

In addition to displaying a positive attitude inside the classroom, Breeana takes part in numerous extra-curricular activities. She is active in the school band and is a member of the Music Council. She is also on the swim team, representing the school at OFSAA earlier this year, and has been part of the basketball and cross country teams. She has been a representative at Model United Nations conferences and a member of the Reach for the Top team.

Breeana is known for her kindness and willingness to step forward to help others. She goes out of her way to peer-tutor others, and she is a friend to everyone. She exemplifies what an ‘Osgoode Panther’ should be and serves as a positive role-model for the school.

Pheonix JudgePheonix Judge
Ottawa Technical Secondary School

Pheonix is an extremely dedicated individual who shows initiative and leadership inside and outside of the classroom. She is a responsible, enthusiastic, conscientious, and committed student who is passionate about learning and excelling in auto mechanics. She pays attention to detail and has excellent organisational and social skills. 

Pheonix motivates and engages the students with whom she works, encouraging them to collaborate and work cooperatively. She has demonstrated incredible leadership, compassion, and care for her fellow students and the school. She has played an instrumental role in welcoming anyone new to the school and co-leading sessions in Women and Trades Events. 

Pheonix is always eager to collaborate on initiatives that help others. As a Peer Tutor, she engages well with a diverse range of students. She clearly communicates to others their value and worth. Phoenix is an exceptional leader, role model, and mentor. She is caring, compassionate, enthusiastic, and confident.

Allegra Wallace-HarderAllegra Wallace-Harder
Richard Pfaff Secondary Alternate Program

Allegra first attended OCDSB Alternate programs as a student at First Place Program, where she became a real leader in the program and school. After successfully completing the program, Allegra chose to finish high school in the secondary program at Richard Pfaff Secondary Alternate Program, where she maintained perfect attendance in the 2018-2019 school year. She has shown remarkable resilience in the face of challenges.

Allegra has been a key leader in the annual Terry Fox Foundation Run, raising over $3000 during her time at First Place and Richard Pfaff Secondary Alternate Program – and twice spray-painting the principal’s hair in the process! 

Allegra has shown perseverance and a commitment to achieving her best. She has been a great supporter, mentor, leader, friend, and ally to Alternate students and staff. Allegra will be pursuing a joint honours degree in Economics and Political Science this fall.

Robiya AbdullayevaRobiya Abdullayeva
Ridgemont High School

Robiya (Ruby) has been an important contributor to the life at Ridgemont High School. In addition to being a high achieving student, she has been a member of many clubs and teams. She is a positive role model with a caring personality and strong moral compass. In 2018, she stopped in the middle of a cross-country race to aid a fallen competitor. She has been active with Students for Change and attended WE Day events.

Ruby has been central to the operation of the breakfast club program, leading other student volunteers and making sure all the rules were followed. When she sees students who feel left out or are new to the school, she reaches out to them, brings them to the breakfast program, or introduces them to others. 

Ruby is a natural caretaker, which she demonstrated at her co-op placement at Charles H. Hulse Elementary School. She helps teachers and students in their classes and extracurriculars, and she is recognized as a great example for all.

Karen OnukaghaKaren Onukagha
Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School

Not only is Karen an exceptional student academically, but she is also a star in her visual art and music pursuits, athletics, trades classes, and leadership. Her interests are beyond diverse and she shines in everything she does.

Karen has been a part of many athletic teams, including varsity boys basketball, cross country, and track and field. She stood out in her trades classes as well, especially culinary arts and transportation. She was the lead singer in the school music program submission to the CBC Music Class Challenge. She also participated in the OCDSB Leadership Camp and the Black Youth Forum.

Karen is a trustworthy, dependable leader, whether she is giving tours or supporting new grade 9 students. She leads by example with infectious positivity. She continuously challenges herself  – for example, in her Outdoor Activities course, she went from an absolute beginner cross-country skier to having some real skill! In everything she does, Karen treats others with respect and goodwill.

Damen TsotroudisDamen Tsotroudis
Sir Robert Borden High School

Damen exemplifies what it is to be altruistic and compassionate. He is the first person to offer help to staff or students when there is a need. He always looks for ways to improve, assist others, and make classmates feel included. Damen is a committed volunteer for the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) program at Sir Robert Borden High School and actively participates in the Best Buddies club.

Damen is a positive, outgoing, energetic student who is dedicated to doing his best, whether it be in English class, Link Crew, or the Star project. He is extremely passionate about sports and always willing to share his sports team knowledge. 

Damen is an active participant in all class discussions, supporting his peers and respecting others' opinions even when they differ from his own. He asks questions and values feedback, filling the classroom with positive energy, which helps to create a safe and caring learning environment. Damen is a very conscientious, polite individual who truly cares for the people around him.

Michaela YuMichaela Yu
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School

Michaela is an outstanding student who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment and leadership in academics and extracurricular activities. She actively participated in many areas of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier community, including the Cappies Critics Program, Cross Country team, Track and Field, and the Run For It club. She has demonstrated a positive attitude, kind personality, welcoming approach, and willingness to help students and teachers. 

Michael has been involved in the Cappies program since grade 9, with several of her reviews being selected for publication in the Ottawa Citizen. As Lead Critic, Michaela supported the recruiting and mentoring of new members and helped organize travel for the team to attend productions across the Capital region. Her leadership and initiative shone in the creation and set-up of amazing production theme rooms for the school’s production review event. 

It has been a delight to work with Michaela over the past four years, and her dedication, initiative, kindness and natural leadership will be greatly missed.

Trinity LowthianTrinity Lowthian
South Carleton High School

Trinity is genuine, kind, unassuming, and responsible. She demonstrates a strength of character and a willingness to succeed that shines through adversity every day. Her perseverance, determination, and positive attitude are incredible and inspiring to others.

Trinity displays both academic determination and sincere willingness to build positive relationships with all members of the school community and beyond. She leads by example and is a dedicated student leader inside and outside the classroom. Trinity was actively involved in the athletic program, along with Air Cadets, the South Carleton Leadership Planning Committee, and Student Council. 

Trinity has also been closely connected to CHEO – participating in youth forums, volunteering for Childlife, and advocating for individuals with rare diseases/chronic illnesses. Trinity brings her strong organizational skills, calm demeanour, and gentle guidance to many areas of the school and the greater community. She inspires all to see optimism and hope in the future.

Keefer LamarcheKeefer Lamarche
Urban Aboriginal Alternate High School Program

Keefer joined Urban Aboriginal Alternate High School Program for their final two years of high school. In that time, they have demonstrated outstanding personal growth and self-awareness. Keefer uses their own personal experience and learning to support others in their life journeys and always meets the stories of others with compassion and understanding. Their empathy is an inspiration to all that know them. 

Keefer is a strong advocate for social justice and consistently uses their voice to achieve a better society for all people. Their unquestioning belief in equity and justice will change the world. They are very determined and have accomplished a great deal, both personally and academically, in pursuit of their goals. They are a leader in the program and can always be counted on to provide support and guidance to their peers. 

Keefer’s enthusiasm and positive spirit provide a welcoming environment for anyone who enters the classroom. The program has been made better by Keefer’s presence.

Hoda OsmanHoda Osman
West Carleton Secondary School

Hoda shows leadership and commitment to students and staff at West Carleton Secondary School. Academically, she is on track to earn her fourth Silver Medal. She is Co-Chair of the Student Council, a Leadership Camp Builder, a head of the Muslim Student Association, a member of the Business Club, a coach of the Junior Girls Basketball Team, and plays on many sports teams.  

Hoda has been instrumental in helping to bring students together to organize events such as spirit weeks, dances, leadership camps, food and clothing drives, as well as events to raise money for mental health, cancer, the Education Foundation, and a free community homework help program for youth. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hoda has helped keep students connected virtually by posting spirit videos on social media channels. She is also one of the main organizers of this year's annual Oscars celebration, moving it to a virtual format. Hoda’s commitment and involvement has helped make West Carleton the great school that it is.

Sami El SayedSami El Sayed
Woodroffe High School

Sami reflects all that is great about Woodroffe High School. Academically, Sami is a dedicated and thoughtful student who achieves high marks and shows a collegial, collaborative attitude in class. He is a curious learner who explores ideas by measuring his thoughts and ideas against those of his classmates.

Sami has worked very hard to balance traditional academics with artistic and creative pursuits. During his time at Woodroffe, the school’s bands were made better by his participation and positive attitude. Always looking to push himself and test boundaries, Sami made the leap into musical theatre as a senior student and shone in the spotlight.

Sami's strong character and positive attitude make him an exemplary role model and worthy of recognition. Sami treats everyone with respect and dignity, making the Woodroffe community better as a result.


Excellence In Equity Student Award Recipients

Abbas MohamedAbbas Mohamed
Hillcrest High School

Abbas has been a role model and leader in everything he does, whether in sports, academics or intramural activities. He was instrumental in helping to create the OCDSB’s first Black Youth Conference and helping to build the student-led Black Youth Forum. Abbas also represented Black Youth at York University's first Black Child and Youth Studies Network, and has represented the school and OCDSB in a variety of capacities.

Abbas supports Black youth and children at Ridgemont homework club and summer school. He participates in numerous community initiatives, including Clean Up the Neighbourhood, Ledbury Banff Community House, the Rajo Project, and the Black Linkup Series at the Origin Centre. He participated in A Protest for Change at the Heron Community Centre as a community organizer, and was the Youth Ambassador at Hillcrest for the Somali Family Services.

Abbas is thoughtful, humble and reflective. He is a speaker who commands his peers’ and teachers’ attention. He inspires all with his excellence and leaves the OCDSB a better place than he found it.

Sade FridaySade Friday
Lisgar Collegiate Institute

Sade was a new student at Lisgar this year, and she has made the most of her year at the school. She was instrumental in moving the "Stay Woke" club forward on several initiatives, including an outstanding Black History Month assembly. She involved and mentored many younger students through the event, and made a point of including Canadian content. The group also planned an event that included grade 7 and 8 students from York Street Public School.

Sade was an active member of the Black Youth Forum class and contributed greatly to the Hard Conversations Conference. She attended the Rainbow Youth Forum and encouraged students to take part in various activities and events. She was also a leader on the Improv Team and on the Rugby field. 

Sade has inspired students and helped to break down stereotypes through her words and actions. In her year at Lisgar, she mentored many students, bringing out the best in others. She is an amazing advocate and will continue to break down barriers in the future.

Excellence In Equity Student Award Nominees

Nick EisnerNick Eisner
A.Y. Jackson Secondary School

As a student, Nick has always had a positive and encouraging attitude towards all of his classmates, treating everyone with care and respect. 

Nick was an active member of ManUp, where he contributed to supporting and developing the ManUp program in its goal to spread awareness of toxic masculinity and violence against women. Nick was also very active in Relay for Life, a fundraiser near and dear to his heart.

Nick is a hardworking, kind, and considerate young man who empowers people around him.

Brooke ShawBrooke Shaw 

Colonel By Secondary School

Brooke is a remarkable force for positive social change. This year, she emerged as a strong student leader and helped organize the OCDSB’s Black Youth Forum in 2019. At the forum, Brooke moderated a discussion about mental health among racialized students. She also participated in a panel discussion moderated by CBC’s Adrian Harewood about inclusion and diversity in the district. 

This school year, Brooke led her peers in organizing Colonel By’s first Black History Month assembly and its first Orange Shirt Day assembly. She dedicated tremendous time and energy to bring these events to fruition, making Colonel By a safer and more inclusive community. Brooke’s legacy at Colonel By is a more aware and empowered student population who will build on her commitment to equity and inclusion.

Brooke has a strong voice; she is always direct but never disrespectful. She walks her talk and talks her walk, applying an equity and inclusion lens to her daily interactions in the classroom, in the hallways and in the neighbourhood.

Skye CoreySkye Corey
Norman Johnston Secondary Alternate Program

Skye’s leadership helps create safe, positive, and inclusive communities in the classroom, in the District, and in Canada. Skye uses her creative talents to educate others and inspire her peers through original music, images, and words. As the lead vocalist and guitar player in the school band, Skye shows a creative spirit and inclusive attitude. 

Skye incites passion for equality and justice, and encourages her peers to take positive action. She is an active participant in the OCDSB Indigenous Student Conferences and a member of the Human Library at Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Her presentations educate her peers and teachers about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the challenges facing Canada’s Indigenous communities. 

Skye’s contributions extend beyond the classroom. Her poetry about her community, heritage, and language is being published by Coven Editions. She created a short film on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. She also educates and inspires change through a podcast. Skye radiates a quest for equity and is a truly incredible student.

Kathryn O'MalleyKathryn O'Malley
Ottawa Technical Secondary School

Kathryn is a compassionate student leader who always puts the needs of others above her own while supporting and befriending students in specialized programs and in her classes. She is caring, committed, and kind, inspiring others with her compassionate spirit and thoughtful outlook. 

Kathryn is a strong advocate for others and committed to her values. She has reached out to students with exceptionalities, not only supporting them and looking out for them, but also befriending them in meaningful ways. She has found ways to communicate with students with profound communication challenges in ways that serve not only the students, but also the educators who work with them. 

Though Kathryn would rather not be the centre of attention, she has excellent communication skills and the strength to lead through service. As an extraordinary cook and baker, she also contributed to the school as a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) ambassador. She has overcome challenges to reach her goals while also inspiring and supporting those around her.

Walid AlaliWalid Alali

Ridgemont High School

Walid has been an exemplary role model to all students at Ridgemont High School since he first came to Canada speaking only a few words of English. On his own initiative, he helps newcomers to Canada navigate the school system and Canadian culture. He works full time and contributes to his household, while also being on time, organized, and determined to learn English and succeed. 

Walid’s mentoring of hundreds of students in the school has supported them in feeling comfortable and included in the education system. He helped many students with locker assignments, locks, and registering Presto cards. Walid also volunteers his time during his spare to tutor, translate, and support students. He is a kind and respectful student who models empathy and consistently values all around him.

Walid has been an important part of creating a safe, positive and inclusive school culture. He has helped newcomers to understand the education system, and has helped many teachers to understand and support newcomers to Canada.

Harmony BrownHarmony Brown

Sir Robert Borden High School

Harmony is kind, caring, equitable, and genuine. She takes the time to listen and is willing to share her experiences and knowledge to help others. She always strives to be inclusive of every person around, and many students have benefitted from her caring and nurturing attitude. 

Harmony has been a member of the Music Department bands for four straight years. She was actively involved in their fundraising efforts with the yearly Garage Sale and made a painting as a tribute to a retiring music teacher. 

Harmony's curiosity, humour, and openness have made her a leader for her peers who came to the Rainbow Youth Club (RYC). She has curated the club’s events and “opportunities page,” and helped shape the role of the RYC by making posters, weekly announcements, and other visuals to foster allyship and representation for 2SLGBTQIA+ students. She also attended the annual OCDSB Rainbow Youth Forums. Harmony is a great leader and advocate for inclusion, equity, and diversity for all students.

Tyr ChandaTyr Chanda

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School

Tyr has demonstrated a continuous commitment to making Sir Wilfrid Laurier a positive place. He is a founding member of the school's ManUp club, which seeks to create and foster positive male role models for other male students in the school, particularly those who do not have an adult male in their home.

This year, Tyr helped to organize a school assembly for Black History Month. At the assembly, he spoke about his own family's history and how he has reconnected with his African roots. 

Tyr has also been a member of the ESNCE (Evolving Spirit Nurturing Cultural Equality) Multicultural Club, where he helped organize the International Food Festival and Fashion Show. 

Janelle WalkerJanelle Walker

South Carleton High School

Janelle Walker has a smile that is contagious. She is always mindful and considers the thoughts, feelings, and needs of others. 

Janelle demonstrates quiet yet strong leadership qualities among her peers. They recognize her as open-minded, empathetic and optimistic – someone they can go to and trust, and who will not judge. She has been a model for resiliency and persistence.

Janelle has grown tremendously during her years in high school and is well respected by both students and staff at South Carleton. She has led and supported diversity initiatives in the school community by planning and participating in the student SpeakUp initiative. In addition, Janelle was a key participant and proudly represented the school at OCDSB student forums throughout her high school years. She has made a difference at South Carleton.


Dania BerkotiDania Berkoti
Woodroffe High School

Dania was a core member of the Woodroffe (Black) Voices Club and worked tirelessly to bring issues of equity, race-based discrimination, and diversity to the forefront among Woodroffe's student body. 

When Dania saw unfairness and bias, she took it as an opportunity to take action rather than simply draw attention to it or comment from the sidelines. This included arranging a reconciliation session with multiple participants, where everyone was able to share their position and find some common ground.

Dania also put together a semester-long self-directed project in her grade 12 English class to explore anti-Black racism and its history in depth. She produced a student-centred podcast and a staff-centred video on the subject. Throughout all of her work at Woodroffe High School, Dania has always remained conscious of being an ally in her fight for change, careful to raise issues but not to speak for others.

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