MONTREAL, OCTOBER 16, 2008- The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) will distribute 38 cash scholarships of $500 each on Thursday, October 30 (6:30 p.m.) to students from the graduating class of 2008 at a ceremony to be held at the St. Pius X Facility (9955 Papineau) in Ahuntsic.
These scholarships are being funded from the proceeds of the fourth EMSB Scholarship Golf Tournament held in June, 2007. Beneficiaries from the tournament, which took place this past June, will be chosen at the end of the current academic year.
Scholarships have been awarded to high school students who are continuing their studies in a post-secondary educational program.
The scholarships are being divided into two categories:
Category I scholarships will be presented to students who have demonstrated a high academic achievement as well as involvement in school life activities such as leadership, volunteerism, student council, school sports, representing the school in different events. The recipients are: Alice Wood and Shaadman Mohammad, F.A.C.E downtown; Veronica Verardo, High School of Montreal Adult Centre, the Plateau; Marilyn Hoang, James Lyng High School, St. Henri; Ka Ho Wan, James Lyng Adult Centre, St. Henri; Tieu Linh Hoang, John F. Kennedy, St. Michel; Ayesha Vording and Nicholas Destounis, LaurenHill Academy, St. Laurent; Riccardo Caimano and Teresa Prioriello, Laurier Macdonald High School, St. Léonard; Veronica Simeone and Sabrina Taraborelli, Lester B. Pearson High School, Montreal North; Sharna Dey, Marymount Academy, N.D.G.; Megan Smith, MIND, the Plateau; Anitha Selvarajah and Nigar Sultana Hossain, Rosemount High School; Flavia Papini Royal Vale, N.D.G.; Kathleen Perry-Theriault and Natasha Salter, Royal West Academy, Montreal West; Nan Du, St. Laurent Adult Centre; Monica De Luc, Vincent Massey Collegiate, Rosemount; and Jonathan Compagnon, Westmount High School.
Category II scholarships are being awarded to students who have persevered in the face of overwhelming odds and personal difficulties. The recipients are: Andrew Rabey, James Lyng Adult Centre; Dool Nath Chowdhury, James Lyng High School; Despina Doukas, LaurenHill Academy; Samantha Goffredo and Luigi Ausilio, Lester B. Pearson High School; Sara Muntasar, Marymount Academy; Nalou Chalifoux-Reis, MIND; Jillian Hill, Options II High School, Ville Émard; Nadera Nawabi, Rosemount High School; Emilia Benevento, Royal Vale School; Michael D’Urso and Sarah Zia, Royal West Academy; Sibusisiwe Sibanda, St. Laurent Adult Center; Gift Samuel Tshuna , Westmount High School; and John McCluskey and Sabastiano Maratta, Vincent Massey Collegiate.
McCluskey, who was featured in the recently released debut edition of the EMSB produced Inspirations newspaper, has autism. Last June he graduated from Vincent Massey Collegiate, an elite high school which require entrance exams. His passionate speech, “On the Ethical Treatment of People with Autism,” tied for first place in the Secondary V division of the 2008 EMSB Public Speaking Competition. He went on to represent the EMSB at the Montreal Rotary Club finals.
McCluskey, 17, says his speech was more than just a school assignment, but also an opportunity to compete. He saw a greater purpose in writing his speech. “With my gift, I will be the voice for those people with autism without voices,” he declared. “When I say that people with autism don’t have voices, I’m not referring to people with autism who can’t speak. Whether young autistic students can speak or not, their needs and rights are ignored. They have no voice. Autism is a trait that sticks out in the crowd. My goal is to make sure that people don’t only see me as being autistic, but that they see that I’m a real person.”
McCluskey stresses that he experiences the same emotions and enjoys the same hobbies as any teenager would. In his speech, he said that people with autism are bullied and abused because they are not seen as real people. He was quick to point out, though, that he was not bullied, nor did he experience any abuse at Vincent Massey Collegiate. “I was never bullied in school,” he remarked. “ The students and teachers treated me with the respect I deserved.”
This year, McCluskey is continuing his studies at Marianopolis College in Pure and Applied Sciences. He hopes to become an architect or a theoretical physicist.