At this year's gala, Moses Abayomi Pratt was a recipient of the United Way Community Builder Award, an award that recognizes those who lead by example, contribute their time and think of innovative ways to make positive changes within their community.
Awards were also presented to four Ottawa Catholic School Board students in the Youth Achievement category. Two of them are our own LPB students:
Samantha Momy, a student from Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School, has a keen interest in any group or organization that promotes positivity and change. She attended We Day for her involvement in the Water 4 Rafiki fundraiser, where she raised money to build a well in Rafiki so women in the area would not have to travel far distances for water. Samantha was also a grade representative on our school's students' council and in her spare time, volunteers at homeless shelters such as the Ottawa Mission. She participated in the Ontario Justice Education Network Law Day Secondary Mock Trial Tournament and hopes to work in the area of Law in the future.
Alison Pratt is a student at Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School who is also very involved with her school community. She served on her students' council for the last five years in various roles including vice president, and co-president. Alison strives to create a welcoming environment at school, and has been involved in a peer-mentoring program as part of the leadership team. She started an initiative at her school called CLIMB (Confident Loving Inspired Motivated Beautiful), which is a daylong event for grade 7 and 8 female students, focusing on building self-esteem and resiliency. Social justice is extremely important to Alison, and she hopes to continue to make a difference in her local and global communities.
Maryam Abdulmajeed is a St. Patrick High School student who arrived in Canada five years ago from Jordan. She volunteers with Ottawa Medvents, a first aid group that works closely with the Ottawa Paramedic Service to provide first aid at community events. Maryam also takes on a leadership role within her school's environment club, encouraging students and staff to work together to care for the environment. She also excels in academics, particularly in her favourite subject, Math. She was the school champion for the Waterloo Fermat Contest, and was on a team of four students who scored first place in the Kingston Math League in 2015. Maryam hopes that the work she does inspires others to do their best and live a life that is meaningful.
Cassandra Rousseau is a student at St. Peter High School and is an active member of her school community. She currently serves as the co-president of her school's students' council, serves as a peer helper, social justice leader, and Link Crew camp counsellor. Cassandra has been an active participant in the peer assistance camp, OCSB peace conferences, Student Senate, St. Peter High School girl's touch football team, and attended multiple We Day events. Cassandra strives to better her school community, local community and other communities worldwide.
Organizer, Moses Pratt says these awards continue to be an important part of Ottawa's Black History Month. "The awards are nice, but the most important aspect of this event is in bringing members of different communities together, and the best way to get to know each is to interact." The event also took place as a fundraising initiative for the Dominica Relief Project which was established following the devastation by Tropical Storm Erika on August 27, 2015. Due to the success of the sold out gala, Pratt was able to present a cheque for $750 to the Dominica Relief Fund.