Four teens recipients of St. Kevin justice scholarships


Four Grade 12 graduates are recipients of the 2017 St. Kevin Food Bank Social Justice Scholarship.

They are: Aaron Parry of Blessed Trinity Secondary School, Grimsby; Laura Ferreira of Lakeshore Catholic, Port Colborne, and Emma Mete and Ailene Zamora of Notre Dame, Welland.

Each scholarship is valued at $1,000.

Parry will be attending McMaster University, Hamilton, where he will study social sciences.

He is co-founder of a social justice league at the school and advocates for indigenous equity and cultural pride inside and outside the school community.

He was appointed to a new position on the student council, First Nations/Metis,Inuit Equity and Advocate for Those Who Need a Voice representative.

He owns a YouTube channel (Parry Art and Design) devoted to promoting indigenous issues and culture, created a video to raise awareness for National Residential School Survivor Day that was viewed by schools boardwide and, as an Afro-Canadian, took part in designing a Grade 11 black history course for possible use in schools across the board. He also promotes social justice through art, “creating pieces that incorporate significant elements of the First Nations Metis Inuit and visible minorities.”

“I want to express my pride in being a Roman Catholic as well as a social activist serving to help my community,” he wrote about why he applied for the scholarship. “I want to make others aware of my cause and of the issues that I am currently fighting to solve on a daily basis. Awareness is the greatest tool to defeat ignorance.”

Lakeshore Catholic’s Ferreira will be attending Queen’s University, Kingston, studying general arts and science with plans to select a major in her second year.

She participated in school initiatives including the Gator Walk, Soles for Souls and THINKFast. As a member of the environmental club she helped run the battery recycling program, took part in beach cleanups and planting beach grass to provide habitat to the endangered Fowler’s toad and to feed monarch butterflies. She was a member of the chaplain’s crew at Lakeshore and was vice-chair of the Catholic school board’s secondary school senate.

Ferreira possesses strong motivation to do for others: “By helping others, I know we can change the world. It might not change the entire world, but it can change their world. My mother has raised me to work hard to live a successful life, success not being determined by financial figures, but more importantly, she has taught me to live resolved to positively impact and aid those around me, ever aware of how my actions would affect others.”

Mete will attend Brock University in the concurrent education – intermediate/senior program.

She immersed herself in myriad school, church and community activities including St. Kevin Harvest Kitchen, St. Kevin Food Bank, pilgrimage, Walk Against Male Violence, food drives and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, among others. Her involvement in the school pilgrimage started when she was six years old. Through multi-year volunteer involvement, she became so attached to Harvest Kitchen (formerly Out of the Cold) that “I cannot imagine Wednesday nights without it.” The ND grad and her family are staunch pro-life supporters.

“Another aspect of social justice I am passionate about is my involvement in pro-life events. Every year, my family and I volunteer and run a station at the annual Fall Life Chain in Niagara Falls and through meeting other empowered young people who support life I have learned so much about what it means to stand up for something our faith teaches us to believe in … As a Catholic student and individual I have learned to love every aspect of our faith, and I value the importance of service of any kind.”

Zamora will be attending Queen’s University in the bachelor of fine arts program with an interest in global development studies.

To Zamora, social justice means providing a solution for a problem in the long run in order to allow for people to make their own way in life.

“I believe in (social) justice and bridging the gap between those who have, and those who have not … My dream would be to double major in global development studies and fine arts then move on to teach arts and culture across the globe, all the while acting as an advocate for social change by demonstrating that all life comes from the beauty and grace of creation and that we are one people. There is no turning back time to before segregation and degradation, but we can at least try and mend the scrapes and cuts that we have gashed into each other’s hearts. It is time to stop the bleeding.”

Zamora was a member of various outreaches such as social climate committee, pilgrimage, fair trade fair, Harvest Kitchen and Walk Against Male Violence among others.

In total, 16 students from four high schools applied for this year’s scholarship. Funds are raised through Soup’s On!, which is held annually the last Friday in January at St. Kevin parish hall, and donations.

Source and credits: Welland Tribune By Joe Barkovich, Sunday, July 2, 2017