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RBC announces 30 Black History Month Student Essay Competition scholarship winners

TORONTO, February 3, 2017 - As Canada prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday, RBC asked high school students to reflect on the contribution of black Canadians over the past 150 years and what future generations can learn from them. 30 winners were chosen from a record-number of entries, including the top three winners:

$5,000: Kharissa Edwards, Mississauga, ON. Kharissa wrote about Josiah Henson and the pathway that he helped pave for future generations.
$2,500: Sarah Konermann, London, ON. Sarah wrote about the power of words to create change, specifically those of Canadian author Lawrence Hill.
$1,500: Britney Trieu, Calgary, AB. Britney wrote about Rosemary Brown, the first black Canadian woman elected to a provincial legislature.

Winners were selected by a panel of individuals from all across the country who have each made a tremendous impact within their communities. Among them are lawyer Doug Ruck of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Carlton University professor Nduka Otiono, and museum professional Julian Kingston of Oakville, Ontario.
“Not only was it fantastic that so many submissions came in, the quality, caliber and diversity of the students’ work was also very impressive,” said Douglas Ruck, former Chair of the Nova Scotia Labour Board and former Vice Chair of the Canada Industrial Relations Board.  “While I consider myself well-versed in Black history, there is no doubt I learned a lot and acquired a fresh perspective after reading the essays!  Sincere congratulations to all the students who entered the competition, and especially to Kharissa, Sarah and Britney for earning the top three awards.”
The other winners, who will each be receiving a $500 scholarship from the RBC Foundation, are:

  • Darian Agapay, Moose Jaw, SK
  • Brandon Anakeu-Kake, Winnipeg, MB
  • Jessica Blatta, Winnipeg, MB
  • Dante Bresolin, Windsor, ON
  • Pronoy Chaudhuri, Brampton, ON
  • Maya George, Ajax, ON
  • Hannah Gunther-Wexler, Winnipeg, MB
  • Rachel Holland, South Farmington, NS
  • Rachel Hughes, Calgary, AB
  • Davis Legree, Brooklin, ON
  • Albert Li, Calgary, AB
  • Jade Li, Edmonton, AB
  • Ahmed Mohamoud, Calgary, AB
  • Lauryne Mvuezolo, Ottawa, ON
  • Liam Nicolle, Moncton, NB
  • Tiana Parker, Conception Bay, NL
  • Lucy Rattan, Barrie, ON
  • Aurora Rivera, London, ON
  • Sandra Ruszewska, St. Catharines, ON
  • Jasmine Saulnier, Moncton, NB
  • Omolara Soyinka, Mississauga, ON
  • Matthew Suchan, Courtice, ON
  • Zachary Taylor, Riverview, NB
  • Katie Tolley, Prince Albert, SK
  • Isaiah Williams, Hamilton, ON
  • Joy Xu, Ottawa, ON
  • Andrew Yin, Richmond Hill, ON

“These students have done an exceptional job in shining a light on many significant people and events in our nation’s history,” said Kris Depencier, RBC Regional President, Greater Toronto. “It is important that we all recognize these contributions to our diverse heritage that often fall through the cracks, and I encourage everyone to learn more by reading these essays throughout the month.”

Read eight of the winning essays each Monday at starting on February 6, with the Top three essays being published on February 27.

RBC’s scholarship programs are part of our “all in” approach to engage young people, rewire systems and drive change to help them prepare for the future of work and have equitable access to opportunities.

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For more information:
Ciaran Dickson, RBC Communications, 416-313-7947