2015-2016 Scholarship Winners

In yesterday’s post, we shared a note about two of our scholarship winners, Safiyya and Afia. Today, we’d like to congratulate all eight of our 2015-2016 scholarship winners and their volunteer mentors!

The other six scholarship winners:

Chrisaanth in grade 6 was awarded the Arthur and Catherine Worth Memorial Scholarship for a project on The World of Chemistry

Hamza in grade 5 was awarded the Urban Joseph Scholarship for a project on Genetics for Grade 5

Jessica in grade 8 was awarded the Conchita Tan-Willman Scholarship for a project on Developed vs. Undeveloped Countries

Pam in grade 8 was awarded the Siu Pui and Tai Hing Hung Memorial Scholarship for a project on Cultural Differences between Cartoons in the East and in the West

Samuel in grade 5 was awarded the Joseph Sheehan Scholarship for a project on Ethiopia

Shrika in grade 5 was awarded the James Moto Scholarship for a project on Neurons

Thank you to our kind scholarship donors!

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Afia and Safiyya

In this post, longtime Prime Mentors of Canada volunteer mentor, Guy Hamel, shares a note about his 2015-2016 protégés Afia and Safiyya from Thorncliffe Junior Public School.

Originally, I met with each of the girls separately to discuss possible topics and approaches to the research that would be involved. I knew that the two were classmates and close friends. I met with the two together with the notion that each could, once the separate presentations were close to completion, step in as an assistant. I had worked with such arrangements a few times in the past. However, during that initial meeting I realized that the two were extremely congenial, worked together intimately as a team, offered advice, challenged suggestions, were remarkably creative. Their enthusiasm as workmates was an irresistible asset; and I recognized that we should meet together, each of the girls taking a turn as presenter and assistant.

The topics chosen—Safiyya on The Human Brain and Afia on The Human Immune System—were extremely challenging. The presenters realized that they had to demonstrate rather than relate the information they wished to share with their audience. Thy found ways to involve their listeners. They invented what they called “skits”—dramatic interchanges between the two of them—to make certain points, as in demonstrating the cognitive process in decision making from prefrontal cortex to the amygdala and back to the reasoning function to invoke rationalization. They were clever, engaging, and successful.

The result of the project for me was an extremely happy association with my young colleagues; the result for them was to receive scholarships for the outstanding quality of their presentation.

Guy Hamel
Mentor, PMC

Congratulations to Afia and Safiyya and Guy on a job well done!

2015-2016 PMC Afia (left) and Safiyya
Prime Mentors of Canada 2015-2016 Scholarship Winners Afia A. and Safiyya I.

In Praise of Mentors Concert

May 8th, 2016
Great Hall, Hart House, University of Toronto

Led by Kerry Stratton, Conductor
In Praise of Mentors
Pianist Thomas Torok & Friends

What a wonderful concert it was…

Honouring mentors, especially the Prime Mentors of Canada (PMC) volunteer mentors, who have contributed tremendously in the personal and academic growth of bright young people who are at risk of not developing their full potential!

Thomas Torok
In Praise of Mentors: Pianist Thomas Torok & Friends (photos from concert programme)

The eighteen year old pianist, Thomas Torok, completely took away the breath of the audience for his awesome rendition of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 and Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.6, S244. Equally superlative was the performance of Andrew Chan who made the harp sing so melodiously with the gentle grace and elegance of the touch of his fingers. The delightful musical programme was complemented so very well by Sharon Lee, an accomplished violinist, and the Odin Quartet.

The Prime Mentors of Canada extends its warmest appreciation to the Toronto Concert Orchestra for organizing the event and for dedicating it to mentors on Mother’s Day, invariably everyone’s first mentors, and for raising the awareness of people in the community about PMC and it’s Vision-Mission.

More photos from the event to come!

We Asked Our Scholarship Winners: How could schools assist young people in becoming active in their communities?

Since the 2000/2001 school year, Prime Mentor of Canada has awarded scholarships to the most outstanding students upon the completion of their PMC project. Over the years, we’ve checked in with scholarship winners at different stages of their education and careers. In this post, we share their answers to the question: How could schools assist young people in becoming active in their communities?

Glothen, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Young people become active when they are enjoying what they are doing. So, in order for them to contribute to the community, I think we should get them occupied in various activities such as fundraisers, fairs, etc. Also, we can start up clubs in which they can try and get them active within their communities in a way that seems appealing to them (e.g. different sports clubs).

Samantha, 2001/2002 scholarship winner: Schools could help youth in becoming more active in their communities by announcing various events and activities that are available for participation. – Samantha participated in community events with her fellow classmates such as the Angel Foundation for Learning Fun Walk.

Jamuna, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: I think schools should focus less on the number of hours students need to volunteer but more so the impact the volunteering has had on the student. Quality of the time spent volunteering should be weighed more than the quantity. Inspire students to do more meaningful volunteering.

Priyanga, 2003/2004 scholarship winner: The most important aspect needed for schools to assist young people in becoming active in their communities is encouragement. Young people should become aware that they will have the support of their schools in whatever endeavours they take part in.

Glothen, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Young people become active when they are enjoying what they are doing. So, in order for them to contribute to the community, I think we should get them occupied in various activities such as fundraisers, fairs, etc. Also, we can start up clubs in which they can try and get them active within their communities in a way that seems appealing to them (e.g. different sports clubs).

Nasif, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Schools should have programmes that involve kids and the community. The community and the school can work together to create programmes that kids will be interested in and will also be food for the community. Programmes such as gardening in the community, cleaning the community, help plan community events and help around the community.


To learn more about our scholarship winners, sponsor or donate towards a scholarship, or learn more about our program, please visit the Prime Mentors of Canada website. To read more from our scholarship winners, please subscribe to this blog!

We Asked Our Scholarship Winners: What was the impact of receiving the PMC scholarship on you and/or your family?

Since the 2000/2001 school year, Prime Mentor of Canada has awarded scholarships to the most outstanding students upon the completion of their PMC project. Over the years, we’ve checked in with a few scholarship winners to ask them the question: What was the impact of receiving the PMC scholarship on you and/or your family?

Nasif, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: Receiving the PMC scholarship gave me confidence and encouragement so I could achieve this kind of achievement again… For my family and me it was a happy moment that I got the scholarship. It was also a sign for my family that I am capable of doing good. I am looking forward to achieve more goals.

Carly, 2001/2002 scholarship winner: I received the PMC scholarship when I was graduating from elementary school. At the time, I wasn’t the top student in my grade and lacked the confidence to believe that I could excel in high school. The scholarship encouraged me and provided the motivation to do well in high school… Furthermore, the PMC scholarship provided me with the reassurance that there would be a way to fund my post-secondary education… The generosity of the donors allowed me to witness firsthand a society giving back to younger generations… I would be honoured to sponsor a PMC scholarship for a student in the future.

Jannie, 2002/2003 scholarship winner: Receiving the PMC scholarship taught me that hard work and determination are important qualities to recognize in the process of obtaining a goal even though it may seem impossible to achieve. It has encouraged me to mentor and tutor others with the purpose of sharing the invaluable knowledge, which I have gained through the PMC mentoring program.

Jamuna, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: The PMC scholarship encouraged and motivated me to pursue post-secondary education.

Menal, 2006/2007 scholarship winner: The impact of receiving the PMC scholarship on me has been so amazing. It’s given me the confidence and encouragement to strive for more and work my best. It has been a huge financial help as secondary education can cost a lot of money.

***

To learn more about our scholarship winners, sponsor or donate towards a scholarship, or learn more about our program, please visit the Prime Mentors of Canada website. To read more from our scholarship winners, please subscribe to this blog!

 

Protégé Profile: Meet Collin

An avid tennis player who loves to learn, Collin often finds himself balancing athletics with academic pursuits. He is vibrant, wise, and recently started sixth grade at a new school. Last year, Collin completed a Prime Mentors of Canada project with his volunteer mentor, Professor Guy Hamel. Their topic? The rather intricate subject of genetics. In this post, we catch up with Collin as he shares his thoughts on  genetics, presentations, and the importance of trusting others.

deoxyribonucleic-acidWhy Genetics?

Collin became interested in genetics after reading about the topic in the library. He’s fascinated by the idea that genes determine “the characteristics of yourself [not just] when you’re born, but also your future”.

About His Project

Evolution and adaptation, plant evolution, heredity, and chromosomes are just some of the topics in genetics that Collin researched with Professor Hamel.  Early in the project, Collin recognized that the topic would be challenging since “genetics is a very complicated subject. Every day something new comes up.”  Collin was able to explore some of these developments since Professor Hamel would bring in news items for them to discuss.

Working with a Mentor

The aspect of the project Collin found most enjoyable was the opportunity to work with a mentor. “Everybody in this world has something to learn. If you take time to share things, most of the time, it makes you understand and that helps you be wise.”

Collin’s advice for any student starting a PMC project is to “put trust in their mentors.” Cooperating and putting trust in each other will make the project better and help the presentation go smoothly.

Collin and Professor Guy Hamel
Collin and Professor Guy Hamel

Presentation Time!

Every PMC project wraps up with a presentation. Collin likes presentations and thinks it’s important to start practicing at a young age. For his presentation, Collin wanted to take the information he learned about genetics and then “shorten and simplify”.  He wanted to make sure he would be understood easily and that the presentation would be interactive.

Professor Hamel helped Collin work towards the presentation from early on by providing reflective questions. He also guided Collin through the process of setting a goal for the presentation and structuring his presentation to achieve that goal.

Collin presented to his Grade 5 class on April 16th. It was so successful that he was invited to present to Grade 4 students in June. For his work, Collin was awarded the Prime Mentors of Canada Conchita Tan-Willman Scholarship.

Life Outside Academics

Collin describes his experience with PMC as “a big thing that has happened in my life” but it’s far from his only achievement this year. In August, Collin played in the Mini Rogers Cup for under-12 tennis players and won first place in the boys’ doubles competition. This awarded Collin the chance to play his peers at Centre Court at the Rogers Cup ahead of a professional match.

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A Message from Collin to Professor Hamel

To wrap up this post, Collin wants to share a message for his mentor, Professor Guy Hamel:

“It’s been an honour to work with you. Thank you very much. I don’t know how I would have gotten through without you.”


Visit the Prime Mentors of Canada website to learn more about our protégés or how you can get involved!

Prime Mentors Community Building Project Grants – Highlights from Spring 2015!

During our annual Prime Mentors Youth Leadership Conference this year, participants were asked to consider ways that they could make a difference in their school communities. They are then asked to work with others in their schools, with the support of a staff member, and develop an action plan that has the potential to improve school life for students in the school. These projects are intended to be short term (completed during the spring term) and Prime Mentors of Canada awards up to $150 to fund each project.

Here are three highlights from the projects that were undertaken this spring!

Anti-Bullying Club
Two grade 6 girls proposed to address the problem of bullying at school. They started an anti-bullying club to encourage a core of committed students to take initiatives to stamp out bullying. Activity days and special assemblies were planned. The club provides a way to help students speak up about bullying issues and hence reduce the problem

Bagels & Business Experience
Two grade 6 boys noticed that students at their school often had lunches delivered late during lunchtime, resulting in little time to eat. They partnered with local restaurants to have bagels and cream cheese delivered on certain days which would be available for sale. The two boys gained business experience while providing a convenient lunch option for their schoolmates.

Bake Sale to Support Ronald McDonald House
Students at one school applied for a grant to fund a current project that involved organizing a bake sale to contribute to Ronald McDonald House. The money was used to purchase baking supplies. In addition to raising money for Ronald McDonald House, we’re sure the community enjoyed the homemade baked goods as well!

Please visit our website to learn more about other Prime Mentor of Canada initiatives or to donate.