Kitchener-Waterloo

Words of advice and inspiration from young people in Waterloo region who won this year's Awards of Excellence

The awards are a long-standing joint effort between the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region and the Waterloo Region chapter of the Congress of Black Women of Canada.

Awards recognize students for their academic and extracurricular achievements

The Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region and the Waterloo Region chapter of the Congress of Black Women of Canada hand out Awards of Excellence each year to deserving young people in Waterloo region. This year's ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19, but some of the winners were highlighted on CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition with Craig Norris. (Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region/Twitter/@CCAWR)

For nearly 20 years, the Awards of Excellence have recognized promising young people in Waterloo region.

The program is a joint effort from the Caribbean Canadian Association of Waterloo Region and the Waterloo Region chapter of the Congress of Black Women of Canada. Normally, winners are recognized at a large ceremony, but COVID-19 put those plans on hold.

CBC Kitchener-Waterloo recognized three of this year's scholarship winners on The Morning Edition.

Here are some of their stories. 

Dagmawit Worku

Dagmawit Worku studies architectural engineering at the University of Waterloo. (Submitted by Dagmawit Worku)

Worku was valedictorian at her high school, Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute, and led the school's Black Student Association and Afro Fusion Dance Team. Winning the scholarship was a big boost as she starts her next chapter at the University of Waterloo, Worku said. 

"It showed me that my work won't go unnoticed," said Worku, who is now in her first year of studies for architectural engineering. 

Listen to Worku's interview on The Morning Edition

Gabrielle George

Gabrielle George is in her first year at the University of Waterloo and plans to major in legal studies. (Submitted by Gabrielle George)

George was also valedictorian at the Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational Institute, where she was a leader with the school's African Heritage Club. George helped organize events including a Kwanzaa celebration and a screening of the movie Black Panther. 

"I think it's very important to get involved early on [in high school]," said George, who said her experience with the club gave her the opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time.

Today, George is studying at the University of Waterloo and plans to major in legal studies. 

Listen to George's interview on The Morning Edition

Daniel Clarke

Daniel Clarke studies accounting at the University of Waterloo. (Submitted by Daniel Clarke)

Clarke came to the region to study accounting and join the co-op program at the University of Waterloo, where he is now a fourth-year student. Clarke said he advises students coming to the region to explore their communities.

"In terms of the community, I just found out in my last semester that the community of CCAWR exists, and that itself means a lot to me," said Clarke. 

Clarke said the award arrives at a perfect time as he prepares to embark on his master's degree.

Listen to Clarke's interview on The Morning Edition

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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