BY JELANI GRANT
The New Life Covenant Church provided scholarships to ten youth within their community, registered in a post-secondary program. The gala, celebrating the students continued academic success, was held at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
The recipients of this year’s scholarship awards included Nyla Theo Crawford-Noel who is entering the Wilfrid Laurier University Film Studies program in order to illustrate controversial issues and Makih Lee Salmon who is using his scholarship to help pay for his Athletic Therapy Diploma program. Brianna Wallace was selected as a recipient to begin studying as a Physiotherapist Assistant at Fleming College, while Tristan Maxwell-Frith will be entering the Interaction Design Development at George Brown College. Also at George Brown, Olivia Downer will start her Community Worker program in the fall and Oluwatomisin Hassan who is following his passion, starting in the Fashion Techniques and Design program. “As I grew up, I always wanted to have everything that was trending, I think the passion just grew as I got older,” Hassan said.
Though a majority of scholarship recipients are starting post-secondary education this September, Jessica Mensah was blessed by NLCC for her second year of school. Mensah is entering her second year at the University of Toronto’s Rotman Commerce program. Sumiko Wilson, who grew up in faith at NLCC, will be studying journalism at Ryerson University. Makaela Hiddo is striving for a diploma in Commerce and a future Early Childhood Educator, Donna-Lee Blake, said she chose the field as an homage to her mother, who passed away, in addition to her personal interest. “Going to college, I will not only be furthering my career, but I will also be paying a tribute to my mom who never got the chance to become a registered early childhood educator before she passed,” she said.
Speakers for the gala included NLCC members Honours Bachelor of Science graduate Natasha Dore, York University student Daniel Small, Honours Bachelor of Science grad Kateejia Smith, with Justice Donald McLeod as the keynote speaker for the evening. Appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice, McLeod is the founder of 100 Strong, a funding initiative for summer school program focused exclusively on twelve and thirteen-year-old African-Canadian boys. While 100 Strong is geared toward African-Canadian boys, Stand Up is open to all boys in Grades 7 and 8. That initiative sees the students brought to George Brown College for a day to pair up with a group of black mentors. He is well-known for successfully arguing 1999 Supreme Court of Canada case involving the African-Canadian Clinic.
The theme for this year’s awards was “Staying the Course” and the line up of speakers demonstrated the truth in that statement as older members of the NLCC spoke directly to the aspiring students.
The church opened in 1974 thanks to the partnership of Reverent Edmond Boettcher and two Pentecostal couples living in Peel Region. Since the doors opened at their current location, the NLCC population has expanded and allows as much as 1,000 people to attend service. The church itself is located on Bramalea Rd. in Mississauga. Reverent Iris Douglas, director of the scholarship awards, said the theme is meant to encourage youth to work towards their dreams and never give up. Implemented in 2001, the Loving Kindness Ministries was created to provide support services to members of the community when necessary. The program provides for the community primarily through the operation of a food bank and a scholarship program for first-year students entering college or university. Funds to support the food bank and scholarship programs are done strictly through the internal fundraising efforts of friend and members of the church.