Out of more than 6,000 applicants in Canada, two Durham Region high school students were awarded a prestigious scholarship, along with 30 other pupils from across the country.
Hubaib Amin, a Grade 12 student from Eastdale Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Oshawa, and Emmanuella Oladipo from St. Mary Catholic Secondary School in Pickering, are the two winners of the Loran scholarship.
The scholarship was founded in 1988 as the first national organization to give undergraduate awards to students for their academic achievements, extracurriculars and their leadership potential in Canada.
The Loran scholarship has a value of $100,000.
“I can say it was definitely a shock, in a way, but it was also a huge relief like for school-wise,” said Oladipo after she had heard the big news. “I was grateful.”
“I would say, an unexplainable kind of moment; I was super, super happy,” said Amin. “It was like a dream come true, a life-changing opportunity for myself.”
Amin heard about the scholarship from the last year’s Eastdale winner, Mamanar Diasse, while Oladipo heard about it through the grapevine at her school.
Almost three years ago, in August 2018, Amin moved to Canada from Afghanistan. Coming from a completely different world, “every single thing is different,” said Amin, from the culture to the food and language.
At the beginning, Amin said he did struggle with his assignments, even though he was scoring 90 per cent on his work. If it took one or two hours for a student to complete an assignment, it took Amin more than five hours to translate English into his native language and then complete the work.
Amin has not decided which post-secondary school to attend yet, but it will either be University of British Columbia or York University.
He has decided to study business administration so he can learn how to support and manage non-profit organizations. He’s especially interested in non-profits that provide shelter for young people where they can have a safe place to call home and be able to learn new skills.
During his three years living in Canada, Amin created a Homework Club and the Muslim Student Association and Allies (MSA&A) group at Eastdale.
Besides getting good grades in school, since Grade 9 Oladipo has been a part of a Black Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) unity committee that runs throughout the year and works to unify and educate people. She now co-leads with two other classmates.
Before the pandemic, Oladipo was also juggling a part-time job at Boston Pizza before being let go due to COVID-19. Since the pandemic she has created an open conversation initiative to help use her voice to speak up for the voiceless to face issues in their communities and she has turned to Instagram to help advocate for those issues.
She hadn’t been an active user of social media but “when I found something to use it for… I had to take it and go with it because people needed to hear what needed to be said,” said Oladipo.
Oladipo also runs the Instagram account for her BIPOC unity committee.
She has accepted Ryerson University’s offer and will be studying intercultural relations, which will launch her into her plan to travel but also make a difference in the world, working with the United Nations.