Eric Guo [郭嘉駿]
Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts
Chung-Kotcheff Family Arts Award
Eric started playing piano at the age of four and currently has an Anne Gillis Conway full scholarship in his third year at the Phil and Eli Taylor Performance Academy for Young Artists at the Royal Conservatory. Mr. Li Wang, his teacher for the last six years, stated, that in the twenty years of his teaching career, he has never recommended anyone with a higher level of recognition than Eric. “He is super talented with innate musicality, dedicated to perfection of his art. He urges and longs for knowledge in music, hungers for deeper understanding from all aspects: artistry, technique, theory, humanity etc. associated with the art of piano playing.” In 2016 Eric won the national first place for Piano Age 14 Category as well as the national Grand Prize, awarded to only one contestant through all instrumental categories of ages 11–14. He debuted with the Oakville Chamber Orchestra in April and has performed Academy showcase concerts and concerts at Four Seasons Centre and Koerner Hall. In addition to piano, he is currently studying ARCT level in violin. He has been a member of the Toronto Children’s Chorus (2010-2015) and of many other choruses at Roy Thomson Hall with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His individuality, musicianship, and poise recently made him stand out amongst hundreds of competitors from around the world in the preliminary rounds of two international Piano Competitions for youth. This past summer, he was selected as one of six pianists from more than 100 auditioning applicants for the Menlo Chamber Music Festival in San Francisco.
Eric is in Grade ten at Wexford Collegiate.
Hayden Cheung [張䂀]
St. Theresa of Lisieux Catholic High School
Mike Dang Community Services Award
Hayden is just entering Grade 12 but his application is full of awards and certificates of recognition not only from his school but from several levels of government. Inspired by his parents, who managed to help others even though they themselves were also new immigrants, he started his own organization called Youth Nation Alliance, which has become the largest youth alliance of its kind in Ontario focusing on supporting new immigrant youth. As the founder, his executive of 30 members helps over 1000 immigrant youth to complete their 40 hours of community service, find their passion, and make new friends. This peer mentorship program paired students with university students, who spoke their native language. Hayden has been co-organizer of the Richmond Hill Terry Fox Run, President of the Interact Club (Rotary International), and former staff of Yellow Brick House, a shelter for abused women and children. He has volunteered over 1200 hours while maintaining mid-ninety averages, honour roll, and enrolment in the Advanced Placement Program. One of his teachers wrote, “from a very young age, Hayden has been dedicated to a life of community service pointing out how he truly cares about the people in his life and how he is well liked by his peers, is a great collaborator whose opinions and ideas are well respected, has an energy that is inspiring and a natural compassion and empathy for others.” He was also selected by the Ontario Legislature to serve as a page in 2014. In addition, he has volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society, Mon Sheong Foundation, Yellow Brick House, Muscular Dystrophy Canada, Salvation Army, and Ontario Nature Youth Council. He serves on the Town of Richmond Hill Youth Action Committee and the executive of a Civic Engagement Committee. He not only designed a poster but organized and emceed an event celebrating Asian Heritage Month. He was nominated in 2017 for the Town of Richmond Hill’s Citizen of the Year for his volunteerism on the Terry Fox Run. Hayden is only in Grade 11.
After Hayden graduates in another year, he wants to pursue a career in Community Services.
Jefferson Chen [陳義飛]
Bayview Secondary School
University of Toronto Scarborough Academics Award
Jefferson ranked amongst the top in academics doing a full International Baccalaureate (IB) Program. He achieved marks in the mid-90s but also was committed to many school and community projects. His teacher said he sought to understand beyond what was required and his excitement was infectious. He regularly demonstrated strong leadership skills and was always inclusive and sensitive to differing opinions. Not only was he President of the Public Speaking Club (which he founded) but in its first year, the club was nationally ranked with students placing in the top 10 at the Junior National Public speaking Championships. He was the Vice President of the Debate Club with over 100 members and mentored many of the young debaters. He was a DECA international finalist and nationally ranked debater, placing top ten at the largest parliamentary tournaments in the country and qualifying for the National Oxford Cup. He was a top 20 scorer on the Canadian Chemistry Olympiad and completed 9 AP exams by Grade 10, scoring top scores on seven of them. He has been volunteering at Carefirst Senior and Community Services since 2013 where he helps to administer annual flu shots, provide healthy living seminars to seniors, and complete tax returns for them. In 2016, he led the Olympiads British Parliamentary Debate Tournament, attracting more than 50 teams from the GTA and acquiring over $1500 in local sponsorships. He also was one of eight worldwide to be awarded a full scholarship and bursary to attend the International Baccalaureate World Student Conference at the University of Denver in 2016 on the topic of “From Farm to Fork: Ethics of Food Sourcing, Production and Consumption.” For three months, Jefferson worked at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information as a research assistant on the “E-Rhythms Project: Examining Mobile Cell Use in the Collection, Transcription and Coding of Data.” Already this young man is making a difference in his community and the world.
Jefferson is studying for a Masters in Chemistry at the University of Oxford, England.
Jenna Wong [黃浩文]
Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
Murphy & Chung Chartered Accountants Athletics Award
Jenna is a student involved in a very unique program at Marc Garneau C.I. called TOPS, Talented Offerings for Programs in the Sciences, geared towards enrichment in Science, Mathematics and English. More than 550 students apply each year and only sixty students are chosen from the GTA. They are taught Quantum Mechanics in Grade 9 and by Grade 10, they have completed enriched Grade 11 math and completed an Advanced Placement (University Level) Calculus. Jenna is also an outstanding athlete, swimming competitively at the national level and training 20 hours a week. She has travelled to Quebec, Winnipeg and Buffalo. She was one of the only athletes in the school’s history to qualify for OFSAA Championships for cross country in 2013 and 2014 and for swimming from 2014 to 2017. She earned the title, Junior Athlete of the Year Award, in 2014 along with Most Valuable Player title for cross country for four years. Jenna acted as captain for the track and field team and won an award for Most Dedicated Player. As president of Marc Garneau’s United Way Chapter, she organized the annual CN Tower Climb doubling the number of participants from the previous year. She has worked as a swim instructor, marshalled and timed swim meets, assisted coaches, mentored Grade 9 students, volunteered at Holland Bloorview Kids’ Rehab Hospital, assisted seniors at St. Paul’s L’Amoreaux Centre Chinese Day Program, and tutored Grade 9 English/French students and Grade 10 math students. She has also been Vice President of Marc Garneau C. I.’s Me to We, a for-profit social enterprise that provides socially responsible leadership among youth in the world.
Jenna is studying Biological Sciences at the University of California Berkeley leading to a future in Sports Medicine.
Derrek Chow [周柏廷]
Iroquois Ridge High School
Choi King and John C. Mah Memorial Innovation Award
Derrek’s English teacher indicated that he was in the 99th percentile for his Grade 11 computer engineering course with a final mark of 97%. He added that Derrek’s strength was not only his academics but also his level of innovative skill, creativity, and problem solving, well beyond the high school level. He started a Ridge Code Programming club that worked with students of all ability levels and introduced them to HTML and objectoriented coding in a manner that was innovative and effective. Derrek organized all aspects of a successful, local “Ridge Hacks” day, attended by outside elementary and secondary participants. They were introduced to computer science innovations by experts in the field in a “hands on” style. Derrek’s Special Education Teacher for gifted learners noted his 97% average in Grade 12, including a 98% in Advanced Functions, Calculus, and Computer Science. She admired how he takes advantage, with humility and openness, when he is given an opportunity to learn. Not only a delegate but a Spirit Leader at the Ontario Student Leadership conference, he led over 2000 leaders from across Ontario and encouraged their leadership growth. He was co-President of the Arts Council, founder and leader of the Programming Club, Minister of Records for the Student Council, and IT lead for the school newspaper. He participated in Tech 20 Under 20 and Massey-Hacks III where he was recognized in the top three. His skills were highly valued as he created the school club website. Derrek is a software development intern at Avante Inc where he develops web and mobile solutions including an exam network for the University of Guelph. He is a key member of the IRHS Think Tank that created a proposal to the Ontario Centre for Excellence “Advanced Education” program. That daunting proposal included three industry partners: the school administration, teachers, and Halton District School Board personnel along with Superintendent support. Without Derrek, who also created the website for the project, it could not have gone forward to the final proposal stage. It was noted that Derrek is innovative, collaborative, has great initiatives and seeks to expand his own learning all while opening opportunities to others. In his spare time, he is a badminton instructor and a certified PHSA (Peel Halton Soccer Association) referee with over 100 games to his credit.
Derrek is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo.
Maggie To [蘇美鳳]
Bloor Collegiate Institute
Maximilian Dignity of Life Award
Maggie is enrolled in TOPS, Talented Offerings for Programs in the Sciences. Applicants have to write two entrance exams and complete a student profile. More than 550 students apply each year and only sixty are chosen from the GTA. Maggie was Co-Chair of the Mental Health Awareness Committee at her school. In 2015, she joined Victim Services, Toronto’s youth leadership program, a registered charity that helps victims of crime and sudden tragedies to restore and enhance their quality of life and that helps to prevent further victimization in the diverse populations they serve. Teens Ending Abusive Relationships (T.E.A.R.) is victim-services-only prevention program that equips youth with the tools, knowledge and resources to navigate the digital world and make informed healthy relationship choices both online and in person. As a Youth Leader, she worked with the Ministry of Education to help develop programs to address the issue of bullying and ways to prevent it in schools. T.E.A.R. worked with WoodGreen Community Services to form a mentorship program between youth leaders and refugee students with success in reaching thousands of Toronto youth with messages of community activism and resilience. Maggie is a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer at the Philip Aziz Centre and Emily’s House, a centre for children who are living with terminal illness. She not only volunteers with one-on-one client care but helps to raise funds for their much needed programs. As a member of the Youth Advisory Council, she raises awareness about the palliative care and hospice program. This year, Maggie had the opportunity to collaborate with Toronto Public Health and the Toronto District School Board to run and facilitate a conference that focused on mental health, wellbeing and resiliency. Maggie’s guidance counselor, who also is her teacher lead for her involvement with the student-led mental health awareness committee, referred to Maggie’s sensitive, caring nature and her emphatic and supportive behaviour and practices in relation to others.
Maggie is pursuing a career in social work at York University.