York students win Millennium scholarships

millennium groupThirty-seven York students have been awarded Millennium Excellence Awards in recognition of their active citizenship, creative leadership and academic excellence. The awards are presented by the Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation to help support post-secondary students who have demonstrated leadership qualities.

Right: Seated, Millennium scholars Gail Geronimo (left) and Andrea Spraakman; standing, from left, Ed Dagsaan (2003 recipient), Daraius Bharucha, Grant Colegate, Jerome Liu

The foundation’s in-course awards are made to students who have not been previously recognized with a substantial merit scholarship and who, after enrolment in a post-secondary program, begin to demonstrate qualities of leadership, community involvement, innovation and academic achievement that inspire others. Laureates Gail Geronimo, Jacob Mitchell, Evelyn Rozenblyum and Cecelia Wai Yu each received the highest award of $5,000, which is renewable for one year.

Geronimo, a second-year student in the Faculty of Arts, has been a course representative three times and serves as a peer advisor for the Founders College and Student Ombuds Service. Her community activities include arranging visits to disadvantaged families, recruiting volunteers and organizing homeless awareness campaigns. Geronimo also visits homeless shelters for the Touch of Love Homeless Outreach Organization, writes and compiles articles for the online newspaper of Sheena’s Place Centre for Eating Disabilities and provides meals and counselling at a seniors health centre. She has addressed issues of women in politics and media as school representative for a women in politics conference and helps with activities and projects at Toronto’s Annunciation Parish Youth Group. 

Mitchell is a second-year student in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies whose community involvement includes working as a coordinator for the Maloca Community Garden at York and working as design editor and systems administrator for the Glendon newspaper Protem. His volunteer work has him doing everything from tending park gardens, planting and pruning trees, as well as cleaning up garbage. In his spare time he bakes bread for the Friends of Dufferin Grove Park and participated in five ecological restoration projects with the City of Toronto. Mitchell’s publishing activities include quarterly production of Toronto Special, a west-end community newspaper.

Rozenblyum, a student in the Faculty of Science & Engineering participates in the life of her community by planning various community service programs for the York International Medical Outreach Society. Rozenblyum also attended activities and participated in workshops held by the York Pre-Med Society. In her home community, she planned and held programs for teens with developmental disabilities, and promoted The Reena Foundation at community shows. In addition, she organized 1,000 hours of community service for the United Youth of Toronto. When she’s not volunteering, Rozenblyum takes piano lessons and has entered a ballroom dance competition and earned her lifeguard’s qualifications.

Yu, a second-year student in International Business Administration at the Schulich School of Business, has been student ambassador for Schulich’s homecoming, school delegate for the APEX Business Conference and a member of the marketing team committee for The Insider school newspaper. She has also been a general member-investment analyst for the York University Finance Club and managed recruitment and training events for volunteers of Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies. Lu volunteers in her community by providing tutorial sessions to elementary school students from low-income families and organizes fundraising functions. In her volunteer activities, Lu has visited underdeveloped countries and elderly and children’s homes for UNICEF. Her personal achievements include being a contestant in The Chinese Arts and Literary Contest for Youth and leading and organizing activities during a summer cultural exchange trip to the US.

Andrea Spraakman, a second-year student in Social Work in the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies, is one of 13 York students who received the next highest award, $4,000 renewable for one year. Spraakman plays alto saxophone for the York University Wind Symphony. She also volunteers as financial and records director for the Atkinson Social Work Student Association and is a student representative on the Bachelor of Social Work curriculum committee. Spraakman spends four hours a week visiting clients and family at the Bayview Community Hospice to assist with daily needs and concerns about dying. She also spends two hours a week organizing and running sing-alongs, bingo and other activities for clients at Alzheimer Society of York Region D.A.Y. Centre. Spraakman also shares her music skills, teaching saxophone to children in the Aurora High School Enrichment Band.

The laureates were selected on the basis of their community involvement, their ability to lead and motivate others, their interest in innovation and their academic achievement. The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private and autonomous organization established by an Act of Parliament in 1998 with an endowment of $2.5 billion to help Canadians meet the challenges of a rapidly changing economy and society by creating opportunities for them to pursue their post-secondary education. Laureates from current and past years often meet to discuss their activities and organize projects to support their communities.

The foundation also awards entrance scholarships to high school students entering their first year of post-secondary education. Awards range from $5,000 national laureates which are renewable for up to three years to local laureate awards of $4,000. For more information, visit the Millennium Scholarships Web site.

The following is a list of 2004 Millennium Scholarship In-course Laureates at York:

Recipients of $5,000 awards renewable for one year

Gail Geronimo
Jacob Mitchell
Evelyn Rozenblyum
Sze (Cecelia) Wai Yu

Recipients of $4,000 awards renewable for one year

Judy Bang
Daraius Bharucha
Scott Boyd
Grant Colegate
Mark Collins
Suhaib Ibrahim
Christopher Janca
Roland Kruja
Alex Nguyen
Soobia Sana
Soheila Satar
Andrea Spraakman
Greg West

Recipients of $4,000 awards

Adam Barrett
Jenny Cevallos
Jessica Di Federico
Dena Graner
Ataollah Haftchenary
Zafir Khan
Latoya Lazarus
Kimberley Leung
Matthew Lloyd
Orli Lubinsky
Zahar Orlov
Hoda Paripoush
Simon Rabyniuk
Rakhee Ramesh
Jessica Reid
Bobby Solhi
Adam Tsui
David Vaisberg
Kimberley Wu
Valbona Zacaj