Canadian Hearing Society awards record number of scholarships to Deaf and hard of hearing students

TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2017 /CNW/ - On Monday, the Canadian Hearing Society officially awarded life-changing scholarships to 11 post-secondary students who are Deaf or hard of hearing. This is the largest number of scholarships and the highest value awarded to students in the organization's 77-year history.

The awards were announced at the 2nd Annual President's Golf Tournament, which raised a record $225,000. Proceeds from the tournament will be directed to the Canadian Hearing Society's National Scholarship Fund. More than 100 golfers teed off at Lebovic Golf Club in Aurora to help Canadian Deaf and hard of hearing students realize their academic dreams.

"The financial support provided by our sponsors and participants is an investment in a barrier-free Canada – a life-changing scenario not only for Deaf and hard of hearing students, but for each of us who will benefit from their contributions to society," said Julia Dumanian, President and CEO of the Canadian Hearing Society. "We know more than 50 per cent of Deaf families in Canada live below the poverty line, and we know education has the power to transform their lives, and the lives of future generations. These scholarships are truly transformational."

A committee of Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing business leaders and academics reviewed applications from across Canada. They chose recipients based on key criteria, including student essays about how a scholarship would transform their futures.

"We received so many deserving and inspiring applications," says Committee Chair and Canadian Hearing Society Board member Dr. Linda Campbell. "Their stories were compelling and each one of us on the committee is proud to have been a key enabler to propel these students forward along their educational journey."

Alessandra's story
One of the students benefitting from this scholarship program is 19-year-old Alessandra Iacovone, who was ecstatic to learn she was being awarded a scholarship.

Born with Stickler Syndrome, she has profound hearing loss and Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, which resulted in her becoming functionally blind for five years. As a young child Iacovone communicated through American Sign Language and by reading lips, but she found communication increasingly difficult as her sight decreased. At the age of 12, she was given the ability to see through lens implantation. Shortly thereafter, Iacovone was asked to be a part of the under-18 Hybrid Cochlear Implant pilot program for North America.

"I am thrilled to pursue post-secondary studies at University," says Iacovone. "Through great opportunities like this one, my goal is to work with those who live with challenging circumstances and help them to see that obstacles are an opportunity and every struggle is worth the sacrifice to bring dreams to fruition."

The Canadian Hearing Society gratefully acknowledges Presenting Sponsor Lebovic Golf Club, Eagle Sponsor Enginess, Birdie Sponsor Signia, Accessibility Sponsor Mathews Dinsdale, and our other generous sponsors and guests for their tremendous support that will enable more Deaf and hard of hearing students to work towards their academic dreams. Additionally, we would like to thank the Walker Wood Foundation for their grant of $2,000 towards a full-time post-secondary scholarship award.

Congratulations to the 2017 Canadian Hearing Society National Scholarship Fund recipients

$3,000 Award for Full-Time Post-Secondary Studies

Paul Bourgeois, Brandon Gillespie, Mariah Griffin-Angus

$2,000 Award for Full-Time Post-Secondary Studies

Joshua Gomes, Alessandra Iacovone, Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere, Jessica Romeo, Sarah Savoie

$1,000 Award for Part-Time Post-Secondary Studies

Jennifer Lauren Claydon, Samira Gouran-Savadkoohi, Nishi Savitri Rambocas

The Canadian Hearing Society is grateful to the 2017 National Scholarship Committee for their passion, commitment and time: Dr. Linda Campbell (chair), Brahm Spilfogel, Diane Gregoris, Jim Kyte, Lynn Lockhart-Menzies, Nigel Howard, Pam Feldman and Rex Banks.                

About the Canadian Hearing Society National Scholarship Program Fund
Launched during Speech and Hearing Awareness month in May 2017, scholarships are available to full and part-time students, including people who are already working and looking to upgrade their skills. Scholarships applications will be accepted starting in March of every year and will be awarded in September of the same year.

About the Canadian Hearing Society
Trusted since 1940, the Canadian Hearing Society provides industry-leading services and products that enable Deaf and hard of hearing Canadians to overcome barriers to participation. It is an independent, registered non-profit organization that reinvests proceeds from product and program sales back into community services, the focus of the organization. For more information about CHS services, visit

An ASL version of this press release can be found here.

SOURCE The Canadian Hearing Society

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Zandra Miljan, Manager, Communications, Canadian Hearing Society, Voice or Text: 416-795-6314, Email:

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