Celebrating Student Success 2014


Through my four years of high school, I’ve
had many opportunities to take initiative and I believe that these experiences
have helped me develop into a good leader today. One of the things that really stands out about
Amanda is she is very artistic. If you ask her to design a banner to publicize
an event, just the artwork that she does is absolutely immaculate. In Grade 9, when I applied for Student Council, I applied for the role of Visual Publicitiy, which is to make banners to advertise
Student Council events. So I had applied and I brought a huge portfolio
of my best work, which impressed the SAC advisors and other Student Council
members. My main extra-curricular interaction with
her has been through Student Council. As a leader, I am designated to a small group
of Grade 9s and I show them around the school and I also tell them about the
school, you know, clubs, and just try to make them feel welcome so they won’t be
scared for their first year of high school. I do consider myself a leader but I wouldn’t
consider myself a leader as the one that would tell people what to do. I would
encourage them and make sure they enjoy what they are doing and listen to their
suggestions. Daniel stands out from other students because
his style of leadership is, he doesn’t take it, it’s given to him, and
that’s because everyone knows that they can trust Daniel – the choices he makes, the decisions
he makes as well. Daniel has also volunteered to mentor some
of our younger students and he truly cares about them, and I say that with all
that he does when he works with them with their play skills. I feel like school is like our family so we
all have to help out and that’s what makes me go above and beyond. Daniel pretty much runs our entire tech crew
here, and anytime, certainly I know that when I have a problem, I call Mrs. Brown,
“Can I have Daniel please for a few minutes?” Yes, I consider myself a leader because I
help other students, I encourage them, and I always try my best in everything. I’m probably the most proud of helping out
with the younger students at the school because I know that I am making their school
life easier and I am helping prevent things that could hurt them. One of the things she was planning in health
class this year was to create a presentation to deliver to junior students
on the topic of bullying. We were put into groups and each group had
a topic – like of different type of bullying – or something that has do with
bullying, and my group had self-esteem. So we did exercises with junior students about
how to raise self-esteem and get their self-esteem high. She’s outstanding academically and socially.
Socially, she is that role model for everybody else in the class. She really exemplifies
the ideal student. I would like to be seen as a student who helps
everyone out and never puts anyone down. They just always make people feel great. When I first came to this school I was in
Grade 1 and I was very quiet for about 4 years, 5 years, and I don’t want that happening
in high school. I want to be a loud person and I want to be a leader and I want
to show other people that I can be something. When I sat down with Hamza to talk about this
award, the first things he said to me was just how grateful he was because he
said if you had known me a few years ago, he said you would have called me one
of the bad kids. I was with the bad crowd, I didn’t do nice
things, and I did not care much about my school work. My friends changed me in Grade 7 and 6 and
this year, I’ve taken their leadership and turned into mine. So I try to help my friends just as they help
me and I try to make others leaders too. I’ve already got Honour Roll this term but
next term, if I get Honour Roll, they are going to call my name when I graduate and
say “Hamza Siddiqui with Honour” and that’s a really big goal for me. I am definitely motivated by seeing other
people’s success and that makes me want to succeed as well. I am a very “go big
or go home” kind of a person so I think it’s important to have a lot of ambition but you
have to back it up with a lot of determination. I guess I nominated Kelsie for the Student
Success Award based on her body of work. She’s been here for 4 years and in those 4 years, she’s had a real variety of different roles. I am part of Student Council and we run Relay
for Life every year, which is one of our biggest events raising money for the Canadian
Cancer Society. On a personal level, I’ve been involved
a lot in the Arts – so different musicals that we’ve had, whether I performed in them,
I assisted directed one. Especially just with this program, the Arts Huron Program,
it’s incredible what it’s done for me on a confidence level. You don’t just grow
as an artist. You grow as a person and it’s one of the most amazing opportunities, if
not the most amazing opportunity that I’ve had to date. I would say the largest impact Kelsie’s
had both in her school and her community is through engagement and that starts with herself,
getting engaged in things that’s going on, but also getting students and community
members involved. I want to be seen as a student that is not
only academically strong but can also work with a variety of people. First, I started
a donation for the ME class when they were kind of talking that they needed,
blankets, toys, and books. He realized that our kids needed these things.
He didn’t have to ask for permission. He wanted to make it a surprise
by doing it secretly and planning it as a Christmas Drive. The fact that Anish had done this on his own,
contacted his teacher and his principal, found out what the class needed
and just really initiated everything, shows a great maturity for a kid that age. Anish was nominated for student success because
he is a well-rounded leader who has made change within a variety of contexts. I am most proud of the donation drive as it
has not only made me feel happy, it made everyone around me feel happy because
they got what they needed. My class even felt joyous as they felt that they also
made an accomplishment themselves as they helped in it. The impact of my actions this year throughout
many different projects – so we’ve done in Peer Mentors, such as raising money
for the Yellow Brick House or the Something for Sarah event or even the Terry
Fox Run that I ran at the beginning of the year. We’ve raised about $8000 towards
all those organizations so I think that’s really a great contribution we’ve
made with the school to other parts of the community. I thought Sydney fit the description really
well of the Celebrating Student Success campaign, I mean, not just in terms of the
leadership that she does, but in the way that she wants to do things that are so selfless
and so mindful of others and not just of her goals. What motivates me to go above and beyond in
my personal life is just knowing that whatever I’m doing, it could make an impact
on somebody without me even knowing it. She’s incredibly determined. From day 1,
when she sets her mind that this is something that she has to do, she does it
and she sees it through and that whatever obstacles that happen, she just keeps
going through with it. As a leader, I want to be able to motivate
other people, to really take action, and make positive impacts on the lives around
them. We had an idea this past semester and it was
called the We Create Change campaign. It’s when we brought this campaign into
the school that we wanted to encourage the staff and student body to bring in change
and help our school building project in Ghana. Brennan’s focus is volunteerism. It’s
all about helping other people. So for instance, he’s travelled to China, Kenya, Ecuador,
and India, and helped to build schools and health resources there. The impact that I have on other people and
seeing that positive impact being created is really what motivates me. Because through the actions that I take, if
I am able to at least change one person’s life for the better, that’s what
really defines success and that defines achievement. At Richmond Hill, we are very proud of Brennan
and we find that he’s made such a positive impact on our student body and an
understanding of the importance of volunteering. Since last year and also this year, we’ve
had several visitors come to our school just to talk about teamwork and about being
fair and about standing up to bullying. She has written a couple of letters to our
administration expressing her concern about students’ mental health and the issue
of bullying, not just in our school, but in schools throughout York Region and indeed
Ontario. I’m proud that the school has had visitors
come and show the students more what bullying is and it’s still going on even
if they don’t think it is. She’s been part of so many teams and clubs
and she has helped improve those clubs just by nearly being there with her enthusiasm
and she is also one of those students that any teacher in the school can
call upon at the last minute to get a job done. I feel that there’s not enough people who
understand that everyone needs someone to talk to but I am trying to be a person
who people can just come and approach me and talk to me if they need to and I just
want to be there for someone. I am most proud of being Student Council President
because when I was in Grade 9, never would’ve thought I could do that.
I kind of decided to take that role as a challenge to myself. It’s been a great learning
experience for me. A lot of students here will look up to him
as a role model for being able to demonstrate that leadership in many different
areas and not having to have just strong academics or just school involvement
or just athletic involvement and I think that’s one of the qualities that makes
him such a remarkable leader. In all the things that Student Council, Peer
Mentor, Relay for Life, Bullying Prevention Committee, all those things are
trying to reach out to people. With Peer Mentors, I’ve made friends in lower grades
and shown them that they don’t really need to be afraid of people in the other grades
because we can be nice too, we are not scary. Jake just loves learning. He really likes
to share that love of learning and he fosters that love of learning and I think
that’s what makes him a very successful student. The accomplishment that I am most proud of
is when I won my school speech competition with my speech on issues girls
face around the world. So after I won my school speech competition, I was featured
on the Because I’m a Girl Blog and Because I’m a Girl is basically just an
organization that empowers women and girls in the third world. I started a blog called Diviya Lives Here
and it’s been viewed in 14 different countries. The biggest joy for me teaching Diviya has
also been the biggest challenge for me teaching Diviya – answering her myriad questions,
knowing that there are going to be numerous questions behind those questions. One goal that I’d like to achieve is to
make girls and boys to be seen as equals but I know that I probably won’t be able to
make our world totally perfect but at least I want to make a difference. She achieves these things through sheer determination.
She doesn’t give up. If someone tells her “No, this can’t be done,”
she says “No, no, it can’t be done that way. I am going to find another way to get
it done.” I do consider myself a leader because I try
to get involved in as many things as I can in the school, not just with my friends
but with little kids to make it as best experience for everyone as they can be. She’s a leader by role model and she encourages
others. She brings other people into whatever job we are doing or whatever
activity she is involved in. I think people just naturally gravitate towards
her because she is so approachable. At the moment, I am really interested in nutritional
value of foods and what are they really advertising on TV and on the package,
and helping people see that it’s not really what they say. It’s gratifying to have a student say thank
you when you spend time with them, which Jaidyn always does. I would like to be a student that you can
come up to ask me any questions that I can help anybody that’s just nice and wanting
to talk to or play with if you feel like you are alone. I consider myself as a leader when I do speeches
for kids with disabilities and I tell them that even if they have a disability,
they can do anything that they set their minds to basically. This year, Tai has been the Ambassador for
Easter Seals and that means he represents kids not just in our school and
in Markham and York Region, but across the entire province, and so as a school we
nominated Tai and we are very proud of the work he’s done representing all kinds
of students and children with disabilities. For example, students are always bringing
in pop tabs. I collect pop can tabs to raise awareness for kids with disabilities
and I decided to start up that program again with collecting different pop cans and
the school’s doing very well. Tai is one of those kids that when he wheels
down the hall, everybody knows Tai’s name and what he stands for in terms of leadership
in our school. As long as the kid with the disability has
the determination, they can do whatever that they set their minds to. Yes, I do consider myself a leader as team
captain of some of the sports teams. I like to encourage some of my teammates to
go at their fullest to do better. I like to ask questions and answer questions
in the classroom. I think it encourages other people to do the same. One of the impacts of Kishana’s actions
has been that she’s raised the standard for the children around here, both as students
but also as young people with character. Every day, I am determined to do my best.
My family has really supported me through all my life, my academic life, my
social life, my sports life. I actually asked some of Kishana’s classmates
to say the words that describe her the best and the words they chose were athletic,
intelligent, adorable, and humble, and I think that really speaks for itself
if those are the words that her friends choose to describe her. I try and show courage in class so that the
younger kids and even the older kids will look up to me and see me as a leader
and see me as responsible. I have a Student Support Centre with Grade
3 to Grade 8 and the younger students gravitate to TJ. They follow his recommendations, they go to
him for feedback. The way I can describe the Student Support
Centre – it’s fun and it’s that one place that anybody can go to if they don’t’
feel comfortable and if they want to feel safe there. I think for TJ, this award has been very overwhelming and he was very surprised that he was nominated for it. But the outcome of him being nominated, the outcome of him receiving this award, especially celebrating his student success has made him feel that he’s made this effort worthy for him. This award means it just told me that I’ve
been successful in school and in Grade 8. As a true mentor in the mentor program, I
also help a lot of Grade 9 students transition into high school. As well, I am
also friends with a lot of them. I also tutor some of them as well so I think that in the end I hope to see a lot of my legacy left over in the school. Frank is an outstanding student because I
think he has a sound set of values, a strong sense of character and I believe his priorities are in the right place. I’m the type of a person who if I want something, if I want a goal, I have a dream or something, I never give up on it. I always keep try to fight for it so in the
end I think it’s just when I have a goal, I just set myself to achieve that goal no matter what. I think a very large piece for our school
this year as well was around the work he did with regard to elevating our sense of
community through the video production in which he engaged both to support Grade
8 students and Grade 9 students. My ambition in the end is that I want to leave
something. Something significant, something that inspires others to be leaders,
something that inspires others to be more than they can be. I think that’s ultimately my goal for everything – life, school. Just leaving that legacy behind. In class, when we have group works or partner
works, I usually take at least a bigger role, I share my ideas, and I try my
best to accept others. I want to make sure everyone gets a say in it. The impact of Madeline’s actions can be
felt around the school. She’s just a very dependable person that could be a cornerstone
to any project or initiative. For a couple of years, we’ve had something
called the Cupcake Club and they’ve used their own initiative and time to raise
money for cancer research. With Cupcake Club, we’ve raised a lot of
money for the Terry Fox Run and then with Recycling Club and everything, we’ve used a lot of reusable parts and that’s coming along really well. Her commitment to her learning, her indomitable
spirit, her ability to keep going even when things aren’t going well for her,
I think that she’s raised awareness and people’s commitments to what you can do to affect change in your local area or even internationally. I’d like to be seen as a student who can
inspire other students to do what they like doing best and do it successfully. Kogulan has put many plans into action. One
event specifically is Rachel’s Kids, which is a non-profit organization, and he
was part of a group of students who were interested in raising funds for this non-profit
organization. The Choice of Hope Project, which was a student-run
initiative that I started and it was to raise money for the Rachel’s Kids
Foundation, which is an organization that raises funds for children in South Asia.
In total, I was able to raise over $300. It’s interesting to present Kogulan with
an idea or a challenge and just watching his eyes really brighten at the new possibility
and the opportunity to tackle something foreign. I would like to see myself in five years in
a career that I enjoy doing, not just one that other people want me to do but something that I, myself, find happiness in. I would like to be seen as a student that
is hard-working and passionate about what they do, that I’m not just in these different
projects just for the credit of it, that I really want to work on stuff like this
to change my school community. She’s a part of Eco Club, she is a part
of the band, she is a part of the Milk Program, the announcements, so all of the
kids in the school know her. They know her especially as Madam Lumiere.
So for the Eco Club, she encourages kids to turn lights off and save energy. So at the beginning, I’ve noticed that all
the classes had their lights on to full power and I never really knew why we had to
save energy and after a couple of weeks I would arrive into classes and all
of the lights were already turned off. I’ve been doing the environmental club here
for many years and Stephanie’s been a vital part of it and she also has been involved
with our Healthy Schools team. She’s kind of the – I would say the perfect kid,
perfect student. She’s just got a great attitude and she’s
enthusiastic and she’s always willing to help. I always wanted to be a leader just because
I feel like I have something to give to the students and I want to help them out too. I wasn’t born here. I was born in Afghanistan
so I’ve always grown up with that feeling that I’ve been given an opportunity.
You know, I’ve been given a chance to have an education, to live my life and be
free. Maseh believes that students should get involved
and when he speaks to the student body at any time, whether it’s the
beginning of the year in September, or assemblies throughout the year, he’ll always
say leaders get involved, you need to get involved. As a result, our student body is so highly
engaged. We have over 67 formal clubs running in the
school, the teams are running, students are encouraged to form ad-hoc clubs,
and Maseh oversees all of it. Instead of having a goal, you should have
a direction. Goals will come and go along the way but my
ultimate direction is just to help people and help the ones in need who don’t have
anybody to take care of them. I think that’s ultimately the direction that I want to take and whatever goals coming by, they come by. Eco Club is a much bigger broader thing now
and we’ve helped to sell trees and make a bigger difference in the environment
throughout our town and neighborhood. Emma is a leader because for one, she doesn’t
have to conform. So one of the things that I’ve noticed and appreciated
about Emma is that she’s willing to take risks, look different, and follow her passion,
rather than following the crowd. I do a lot of with the Eco Club. Basically,
I am the leader of the poster team. So I help make posters to advertise things and
I help to show the kids different techniques with everything that they’re
doing. She puts others before herself quite often. So there’s a real selfless tendency with
Emma and that’s something that’s so rare. She’s not doing it so that she’s going
to get something out of it. Quite often, it’s done sincerely and she’s doing things for others
because she truly cares and loves others, and loves the environment. I have Emma’s Lemons. It’s a lemonade
stand for charity and I sell lemonade to raise money for Georgina Cares so that all
the kids can play sports. To be honest, I wasn’t a very outgoing person
before and getting involved in school activities like I am right now is actually
kind of challenging and I was kind of discontent with being an introvert and that’s
when I started to want to make some changes. What makes Danni stand out in this school
is the fact that she is very quiet, but she’s very effective. She sees some need
and she goes out to try to fulfill that need. I’ve been an executive of the Octagon Club.
I have organized audiobook recordings for the ESL class. So basically we ask people
to record their voice of reading different chapters and we make an audiobook
out of those people’s recordings. The school has provided me with the platform
to do that. I would never be able to make those accomplishments without the help
of my parents, my teachers, and also my friends, so I do really appreciate their
support and they have given me so much motivation. My involvement in the school community exists
through the form of Boss, which is our student council at the school and it also
involves myself as a peer tutor, myself as someone who tries to achieve the highest
academic standings that I can try to fulfill my potential to the best value I can. He is a quiet leader, a motivator, certainly
a role model, who consistently strives for excellence and to make a difference. Right
now, I’m on Boss as Treasurer so I make sure that our budgeting goes as planned,
our fiscal responsibilities kept in check, and make sure that events go really smoothly. We are very privileged at our school to have students who have heart and soul and who want to make a difference. When I see students around me are involved
in the school and our spirit events are being carried out successfully and the students
are happy with what they see in the school and what their role in the school
is, that’s when we know that we’ve been successful in our role on the Board of Student
Senators. Right before the winter break this year, we
had an assembly and the assembly was run by GSA, which I am the president of. As
the last presentation, the GSA went up and we did rap to Same Love. So telling
that story and just being loud and proud of it in front of 500 students in the gymnasium,
that’s probably one of my biggest accomplishments because I felt like it made
a difference to the school and it gave me comfort to know that my story has been
told. Over the years, now he’s in Grade 12, and
he’s been involved in Student Council every year of his high school career. He has
been part of the GSA, the Gay-Straight Alliance with me for the last three
years and he’s just phenomenal. People gravitate toward him and he’s just very positive so I think that makes an excellent leader. My faith for equity in the school has really
changed the way that people see each other and that people see people of any sort
diversity, that students definitely respect each other more and I feel like the
barriers that have divided students in the past have now almost been disintegrated
completely. I think John, because he is continually working
towards being the best version of himself that he can possibly be, he is my
definition of success, absolutely.

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