RBC announces 25 Black History Month Student Essay Competition scholarship winners

TORONTO, Feb. 4, 2016 /CNW/ - As the cost of tuition continues to rise, scholarships are helping students to offset some of those costs. Today, 25 deserving high school students were awarded scholarships from RBC for their essays on how black Canadians have helped to define our country's diverse heritage and identity. The winning submissions were chosen from a record-number of entries from across Canada, including the three top scholarship winners:

$5,000: Kikachukwu Otonio, Colonel By Secondary School (Ottawa, ON), who wrote about the seemingly insurmountable boundaries broken down by writer Mary Ann Shadd Cary.

$2,500Jillian Conrad, Auburn Drive High School (Dartmouth, NS), who focused on Shauntay Grant and the power of storytelling.

$1,500: Jarvis Bernard, Auburn Drive High School (Dartmouth, NS), who wrote about strong black women who have inspired many throughout history.

Winners were selected by a panel of esteemed community leaders, including former Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, the Hon. Mayann Francis.

"The research done by the students reveals the important contributions made by African Canadians to Canadian society," says Francis, the first African Nova Scotian and the second woman to serve as Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. "They told the stories of these Canadians with great conviction and pride. Inspired by the role African Canadians played in shaping our shared history, the strength of each essay revealed hope and aspirations for their own future. It was a pleasure reading how these notable Canadians impacted Canada's history and now the lives of these students."

Other winners, each receiving a $500 scholarship from the RBC Foundation, are:

  • Laura Baggs, Holy Heart of Mary High School (St. John's, NL)
  • Rahul Balasundaram, L'Amoreaux Collegiate Institute (Toronto, ON)
  • Cassidy Bradley, West High School (Halifax, NS)
  • Alisha Burney, Centennial High School (Calgary, AB)
  • Sarina de Havelyn, Dover Bay Secondary School (Nanaimo, BC)
  • Bianca Demelo, St. Joan of Arc High School (Whitby, ON)
  • Alanna Doyle, Sinclair Secondary School (Whitby, ON)
  • Josiah Fuller, Woodland Christian High School (Kitchener, ON)
  • Lillian Green, Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School (Toronto, ON)
  • Jabril Jire, Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School (Kitchener, ON)
  • Tina Madani Kia , Port Moody Secondary School (Coquitlam, BC)
  • Manveer Kalirai, Iroquois Ridge School (Oakville, ON)
  • Caroline Mallity, Ecole Secondaire Catholique Embrun (Embrum, ON)
  • Brandi Medley, Auburn Drive High School (Dartmouth, NS)
  • Fogofoluun Oriowo, Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute (Waterloo, ON)
  • Lauren Patrick, Emily Carr Secondary School (Woodbridge, ON)
  • Safeyyah Raji, Craig Kielburger Secondary School (Milton, ON)
  • Aneesh Sridhar, Glenforest Secondary School (Mississauga, ON)
  • Janis Tatavarthy, Trenton High School (Trenton, ON)
  • Taliya Wolfe, Pacific Academy (Surrey, BC)
  • Nada Yakubu, Bramalea Secondary School (Brampton, ON)
  • Sophie Zhao, Sir Winston Churchill High School (Calgary, AB)


Starting today, you can read all of the winning essays at rbc.com/essay.

RBC's scholarship programs are part of our RBC Kid's Pledge, our five year, $100 million commitment to kids and youth.


Royal Bank of Canada is Canada's largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America's leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We employ approximately 81,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 37 other countries. For more information, please visit rbc.com.‎

RBC helps communities prosper, supporting a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2015, we contributed more than $100 million to causes around the world.

SOURCE RBC Royal Bank - Public Affairs & Community Relations

For further information: Ciaran Dickson, RBC, 416-313-7947

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