When Yuli Rodriguez arrived at Markham District High School after emigrating from the Dominican Republic two years ago, she spoke very little English but quickly became an integral part of her school community.
She’s a founding member of the Spanish Club and uses her experience to help teachers understand what it’s like to be new to Canada. She also demonstrates perseverance and dedication on a daily basis, the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) reports.
Yuli is one of 16 students honoured at the Board’s annual Celebrating Student Success dinner and awards ceremony. “Education is truly a partnership of schools, families and community,” YRDSB Chair Ron Lynn says. “We celebrate the achievements of this year’s recipients, as well as the efforts of educators and family members across York Region who support students every day with their classwork, homework, projects and community involvement.”
Fellow award recipient Quinnton Hyde of Milliken Mills H.S. in Unionville is pursuing a career in nursing and is a co-op student at Markham Stouffville Hospital, where he works in the MRI unit. He was featured in YRDSB’s Celebrating Black Excellence program and was active in four Black youth-related programs in 2022, including Rise Brothers, Reach Ahead at Kinesiology and Physical Education Program, the Summer Mentorship Program by the University of Toronto, and the Black Excellence Program.
Aijah DeLeon-Hurley of Markham Gateway Public School is described as a “quiet leader” in her school community. As part of the tech crew, she helps set up and take down equipment and educate her peers on how to use technology. She’s also a member of the intermediate basketball and volleyball teams. “She is always an encouraging voice on the court and makes sure that the members of her team have a positive experience,” the Board says.
Archana Shivraj of Boxwood P.S., also in Markham, took on a leadership role in her school by writing a letter to administration and the community class teacher about the importance of integrating students from the community class into standard classrooms. She tutors her peers, stands up for others and volunteers to help teachers.
“The definition of success is unique for each individual student,” says Interim Director of Education Scott Yake. “These 16 students have in common a commitment to excellence that has helped them achieve success at school and in their personal growth. Their accomplishments are inspiring for their classmates, teachers and families.”
Click here to view a video and summary of each student’s accomplishments.
Photo of Celebrating Student Success award recipients courtesy of the York Region District School Board.