Seven exemplary students are being recognized by the Newmarket African Caribbean Canadian Association (NACCA) as recipents of scholarships, and its prestigious memorial award honouring youth leadership.
Natacia Gifford is being honoured with the Iris Malcolm Memorial Award.
"Natacia is an outstanding student who, despite challenging circumstances, inspires us all with her passion for empowering youth and serving her community with incredible devotion. We are excited to support Natacia in achieving her academic and professional goals," NACCA chairperson Jerisha Grant-Hall said in a news release.
Also receiving 2020 NACCA scholarships are Julius Adu, Tristan Bethune, Ziphion Grant-Bobb, Elijah Gyansa, Adelaide Swanston and Monique Thompson.
The scholarship supports outstanding students who are entering their first year of post-secondary studies, with NACCA providing up to $1,500 for tuition costs.
The seven outstanding scholars will undertake post-secondary education in fields such as science, child and youth care, commerce, human rights and diversity and engineering.
“When community members came together in 2018 to discuss how we could build a firm foundation for the next generation, it was abundantly clear that we wanted to build a legacy of high academic achievement and empowerment for Black youth," Grant-Hall said.
"Our desire was to foster a profound sense of pride in claiming their Black identity. We wanted our young people to be deeply rooted in their birthright, which is full knowledge of African industry, art, sciences, math, literature, culture and its profound influence on the world we have come to know.”
The scholars are exceptional students and leaders who not only support and inspire their peers but also exemplify academic excellence and service in the broader community, Grant-Hall said.
"They also demonstrate a strong capacity for leadership into the future. This award not only recognizes what they have already achieved, but opens the door for them to build on, and share more widely, their leadership and pursuit of excellence," she added.
“We could not be more proud of these incredible young people who through hard work, perseverance, determination and grit navigated the spaces and places they occupied, becoming leaders, scholars and change makers who created positive outcomes for themselves and others.”
NACCA works in collaboration with school boards, communities, businesses and both local and provincial governments to create limitless pathways for youth leadership, empowerment and advancement.