Toronto students win scholarships in RBC Black History Month Student Essay Competition

TORONTO, Feb. 8, 2012 /CNW/ - Last night, at a Black History Month celebration in downtown Toronto, three Toronto area high school students were awarded scholarships for their essays on people who have helped shape and define Canada's diverse heritage:

  • First place: Katura Gibb, age 16, St. Marguerite D'Youville. Katura's essay uses compelling examples, such as Thornton Blackburn and Michaëlle Jean, to show the impact black people have had both at home and abroad.

  • Second place: David Grant, age 17, Agincourt Collegiate Institute.  David's essay tells the story of Eva Smith and how her compassion and dedication continues to impact so many young, marginalized Canadians even after her death.

  • Third place: Shardae Keane, age 17, from Harbord Collegiate Institute.  Shardae's essay "Reach for the Top" is all about the hope the Honorable Jean Augustine has given to so many women, including Shardae herself.

The evening also included an insightful discussion between Marci Ien of Canada AM and the Honorable Justice Irving André, as well as a performance by 19-year old Jazz piano prodigy Quincy Bullen.

"Tonight was all about celebrating our history," said Mark Beckles, RBC Regional Vice President for Scarborough, Pickering and Ajax. "But tonight's three essay winners and our musical performers are proof positive that we also have an exciting future ahead of us."

The RBC Black History Student Essay Competition was open to Canadian students applying to a Canadian College or University in the 2012/2013 academic year.  Students were asked to submit an essay of up to 500 words on how one or more black Canadians have helped define Canada's diverse heritage and identity through their specific achievements and contributions.

Read the 22 best essays online

Starting tonight, and for the rest of February, a different essay from the competition will be published each day at

About RBC

Royal Bank of Canada (RY on TSX and NYSE) and its subsidiaries operate under the master brand name RBC. We are one of Canada's largest banks as measured by assets and market capitalization, and are among 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 services, insurance, corporate and investment banking and transaction processing services on a global basis. We employ approximately 74,000 full- and part-time employees who serve close to 15 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 56 other countries. For more information, please visit

SOURCE RBC Royal Bank - Public Affairs

For further information:

Mark Hamill, Director of Communications, Greater Toronto
(416) 974-3900,


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