Comedian Russell Peters announces $20,000 scholarship for former school

TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - North Peel Secondary School students will have the chance to earn the Russell Peters North Peel Scholarship, an award worth up to $20,000 and intended to finance up to three years of college. The first scholarship will be awarded in 2010 to a graduating student in financial need who has a strong academic standing and will attend college this fall.

"We all know Russell Peters is hilarious, but he has a serious side too-he's serious when it comes to making a difference in his home town," says Don Ablett, principal of North Peel. "Many will remember the $500,000 contribution he made to the Brampton Civic Hospital. And now he has provided this scholarship, which will be awarded annually. He's incredibly generous and is helping to change lives in our community."

As a student, Peters is remembered as being very likeable. Teacher Fred Kolar taught Peters in the chef training program in 1986 when he was in grade 11. "He was happy-go-lucky and had the ability to find humour in every day situations. His way with words encouraged people to listen to him," says Kolar. "He came to me one day and said he was thinking about pursuing something else. He was interested in comedy. I supported him completely-I urged him to come up with an act and try it out. We like our students to express themselves. Everyone has different talents."

Even though there is no formal comedy training at North Peel, the encouragement Peters received while at the school helped him to pursue his passion. Now he is paying it forward-the Russell Peters North Peel Scholarship will ensure that, every year, a North Peel graduate has the financial support necessary to achieve to their full potential.

In 2009 Peters was ranked by Forbes-along with Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock-as one of the top 10 highest grossing stand-up comics in the United States. With his signature irreverent take on race, culture and all of our so-called differences, Peters has gained a devoted global following and has been packing theatres, arenas and clubs worldwide for two decades, including four sold-out shows at Toronto's Air Canada Centre and two sold out shows at New York City's Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden.

North Peel is the largest vocational school in Ontario, with 750 students. Through 20 hands-on programs including auto service, chef training and horticulture, it prepares students to enter the workplace, college and apprenticeship programs. The school is located at 1305 Williams Parkway in Brampton.

Note to media:

A photo of Russell Peters is available at www.peelschools.org

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Peel District School Board

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Don Ablett, Principal, North Peel Secondary School, (905) 791-6770, ext. 405; Sonya Bhatia, Publicist, (647) 801-8488; Reference: Alison Farbar, School Communications Specialist, (905) 890-1010, ext. 2098, alison.farbar@peelsb.com

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