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Loran Scholars Make TDSB Proud

Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Categories: Great Things, School Web Stories

Four Toronto District School Board (TDSB) students from Marc Garneau CI, R.H. King Academy and William Lyon Mackenzie CI have been named recipients of the Loran Award. Ilakkiyan Jeyakumar, Athavarn Srikantharajah, Aditi Sriram and Vicky Xu are among 30 students selected out of the 4273 applicants from across Canada who applied for the prestigious scholarship. 

The Loran Scholars Foundation, founded in 1988, is a national charity that works in partnership with  universities, donors and volunteers throughout the country to invest in young Canadians who demonstrate character, commitment to service and leadership potential. 

The award is valued at up to $100,000 over four years and tenable at 25 partner universities.  It includes a comprehensive enrichment program (mentorship, summer internships, annual retreats and forums) to support Loran Scholars in taking unconventional paths and seeking out how they can most effectively contribute to society. Recipients receive funds for a four-year tuition plus a living stipend of $9,000 per year and summer mentorship. That allows students to pursue academic and social interests without having to worry about the costs of post-secondary education.

 

Marc Garneau CI's Vicky Xu is an advocate for giving back to the community with a focus on the small things that make a big difference. She co-founded Community Surf and Uncover Kindness which are organizations that strive to connect people together to create better communities by running kindness and appreciation campaigns. As president of the arts council, Vicky organized a festival and the creation of a school mural. She is a youth ambassador for the United Way and leads the school’s United Way club, coaches soccer and plays piano. If that didn’t keep her busy enough, last year, she worked three jobs. Staff at the school are overjoyed and describe her as compassionate, dedicated and feel that she is one of the most deserving students. No matter what hardships life brings, Vicky always has a smile on her face and continues to stand by what she believes in. 

"At the end of day, one of our greatest gifts is our ability to be unique. To bring new ideas and creativity to the table. To take action for what we believe in. To inspire others to reach their potential. And in order to be unique, we need to be ourselves. I think one of the greatest parts about the Loran journey is the people. I'm so excited for the future because these people are already changing it for the better”, comments Vicky.

 

R.H. King Academy’s Ilakkiyan Jeyakumar loves to build and aspires to be a mechanical engineer so he can continue his passion for building.  Ilakkiyan co-founded and lead the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) club at his school.  As president of the STEAM club, he organized and coordinated two competitions at two local elementary schools to hammer home the principles of the engineering design process for all students. Researching, designing, testing, building and – most importantly – failing and doing it all over and over again was what the message he wanted to get across. Giving kids the resources to be creative, have fun and build while simultaneously enabling them to face failure and surmount it is one of the biggest goals at the competition. Additionally, he was a part of a team of four that won the Fluor Engineering Challenge for Canada, for which the school was awarded $2500.

As co-chair of the environmental council, he launched an annual reusable water bottle program that was kicked off this year at the school to significantly reduce the use of plastic water bottles. Additionally, he is in the process of managing a revitalization project of an unused naturalized zone. The council is working on removing invasive species, introducing native ones, creating and implementing bird houses and data collection.  He was also part of a team that crafted the very first Greenbelt Youth Charter.

Ilakkiyan is still considering his post-secondary offers from several universities but in his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano and lives his life by the following philosophy: Find your drive and make it happen; have fun and be great.

 

After co-founding the Amnesty International Club at R.H. King Academy, Athavarn Srikantharajah began volunteering with the regional office in Toronto as a Youth Organizer where he helped plan a human rights conference for youth.

Along with his work at Amnesty International, he is involved in various initiatives at R.H. King like the RISE project. After presenting for and winning a $5,000 grant from Toronto Public Health, he trained a group of high school students to provide workshops in nearby elementary schools on mental health and substance abuse. 

He started an online magazine, and organized a leadership group for the GTA. He is the managing editor for the school's Connected Newspaper and the Director of Marketing and Communications for a youth led humanitarian organization known as Youth for Humanity and currently works with Plan Canada International as a fundraising associate where he has been involved with donor recruitment.

He is helping to plan a national youth challenge to influence Canada into signing the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture. 

Athavarn hopes to attend the University of Ottawa for Conflict Studies and Human Rights and is looking to pursue a career in human rights law or public policy. 

 

Aditi Sriram is a MaCS (specialized math and science program) student at William Lyon Mackenzie CI. She is passionate about science, youth outreach and creating a world of equal opportunity. Aditi began volunteering as a tennis coach for young children with the Jane and Finch Community Tennis Association four years ago.

She also serves on the association’s youth council and works as a coach for the Girl’s league. Aditi helps run both the DECA and science clubs at school and organized a Science Olympics event for middle school students. She served as a Girl Guides youth leader for three years and plays the piano and flute in the school band.  Aditi enjoys badminton and tennis, and has participated in school and community teams. She also co-founded the Mackenzie’s TEDx club and endeavors to help arrange a TEDx conference at school. She has worked as an ambassador for TEDxYouth@Toronto and Science Expo, and recently hosted a cancer research conference for high school students.

Aditi plans to go to University of British Columbia for a dual degree in science and business. She hopes to pursue a career in education, environmental sciences, or human health.

As Aditi realizes the depth of her contributions to the community, she comments, “Everything that I've been involved with, whether it be in the community or in school, I thought of them as little parts that didn't add up to anything more than what they were. After being named a Loran Scholar, I can now decisively say that every little thing that I do, and that anyone does for the world, adds up.” 

 

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