York student talks about her success thanks to the Pathways program

York student Sarah Rahman, a 19-year-old on a full university scholarship, has the ingredients to build a bright future for herself, wrote the National Post Nov. 7. It was not always like this.

In front of a crowd of politicians, educators, philanthropists and businesspersons gathered in a Rexdale community centre for a funding announcement, the young woman candidly recounted the challenges she faced when her family moved from Bangladesh to Toronto 10 years ago. Her father’s professional credentials were not recognized, so they ended up in social housing in Regent Park.

"I was in a kind of crisis. I did not know what to wear, or when to say what, or who I could be open with," said Rahman, who is now studying social work at York. "Who I was as a Bengali Muslim girl and who I was as a Canadian girl was different and contradictory. And therefore my marks started to drop."

But that changed once she joined Pathways to Education, a community-based program that is being credited with dramatically reducing the school dropout rate in Rahman’s inner-city neighbourhood. It provides academic tutoring, group mentoring and financial assistance for post-secondary education.

  • Young students Sarah Rahman and Peter Wanyenya told the crowd how the Pathways program had helped them stay in school despite the many obstacles that were thrown in their way, wrote Christina Blizzard in The Toronto Sun Nov. 7, in a column criticizing a proposal by the Toronto District School Board to introduce black-only schools.

Sarah, 19, is studying social work at York University now, but she told the poignant story how, as a child living in Regent Park, she had struggled to find her own away, pulled between the conservative forces of her traditional family and the progressive future her new country offered.

The Pathways program encouraged her to stay in school and go on to university. McGuinty gave the program a $19-million boost yesterday, so it can expand province-wide.

  • OMNI-TV and the North York Mirror also carried a stories on the Pathways program that featured Rahman Nov. 6.

Release raises doubts about terrorism case

The bail release of Qayyum Abdul Jamal, the eldest of 18 accused in Canada’s largest terrorist sweep, has raised questions about the strength of the Crown’s case against the suspects, wrote the National Post Nov. 7.

"At the early stages, the Crown’s case tends, sometimes, to look its best. That’s because at the early stages, the Crown does not have to prove it. They are just allegations," said James Stribopoulos, a law professor in York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. "It is not uncommon with the passage of time, with the ability of the defence to gain access to full disclosure and with the testing of evidence at a preliminary inquiry for the truth to emerge that the Crown’s case isn’t quite as strong as originally believed or claimed."

York students record a first

Physics students in York University’s Faculty of Science & Engineering are the first undergraduates in the country to carry out the scientifically daunting task of trapping atoms as part of an advanced laboratory course, wrote the North York Mirror Nov. 6. Two student teams recently trapped atoms using a one-of-kind laser optics lab at York. The experiment is part of a new physics course offered through the Faculty of Science and Engineering for the first time this fall.

"We’re very excited to be the first Canadian university to introduce undergraduates to laser cooling and trapping of neutral atoms," said Professor Anatharaman Kumarakrishnan, who developed the course. The advanced optics laboratory includes state-of-the-art equipment necessary to control lasers, which cool atoms to super-cold temperatures, approximately -273 C. "There’s a high demand for students with skills in this area," Kumarakrishnan said.

The proof is in the hitting

I don’t intend to get into a long-winded debate on whether or not body contact should be allowed in the higher level of hockey, wrote Yvonne McLeod of Stratford in a letter to the Stratford Beacon-Herald Nov. 6. I simply want you to consider the facts.

The School of Kinesiology & Health Science, at York University’s Faculty of Health, in conjunction with the orthopedic surgery division of Sick Kid’s Hospital in Toronto, conducted a study of "Body Checking Rules and Childhood Injuries in Ice Hockey." The results of the study concluded that of the reported 4,736 hockey-related injuries, sadly, 3,000 (63 per cent) were in Ontario. Not only did our province have the highest number of hockey-related injuries reported, but an astonishing 59 per cent of the injuries occurred in boys age 10 to 13.

The study also concluded that there is no conclusive information to say that introducing body contact at a younger age would prove to be an advantage; in fact Ontario has proven that to be quite the opposite, showing there is no protective effect from learning to check at an earlier age.

This is not to say that I think body contact should be disallowed in the game of hockey; I think we need to recognize that the introduction of body contact at the atom level may be too early. I do realize that severe injury does occur at all levels of hockey but we need to answer the question does the introduction of body contact at an early age have a protective advantage for the player or does it only pose unnecessary risk of injury? We can’t ignore the numbers.