HWDSB Students Praised for Community Contributions at 2022 Holland Awards
Since 1996, the Reverend John C Holland Awards has celebrated the heritage of Hamilton’s Black community, with a particular focus on social, economic, and cultural contributions to the City.
Each year, Hamilton Black History Council joins with the wider community to celebrate these accomplishments of youth and also acknowledge the contributions of community members. The Holland Awards has become one of the premier events in the community and a valued symbol of achievement, with over 200 scholarships and awards to Black youth in Hamilton.
This rich tradition has carried into 2022, as on June 18, community members gathered virtually for the 26th edition of the Reverend John C Holland Awards. Watch a recording of the event livestream below, or click here to view it on YouTube.
HWDSB was well represented at the event, with numerous students nominated for awards and scholarships! See below to learn about some of the winners from HWDSB, or visit The Hamilton Spectator’s website for a full list.
General Achievement Award (sponsored by McMaster Political Science)
Eliza Ritchie is a well-rounded student, who has been involved in several community initiatives. During her time at Warriors for Wellness, where she organized a food drive for families in need. Eliza also co-founded EcoWarriers, a club to encourage environmentalism in her school, where she organized events including litter clean-ups, upcycling, and establishing a pollinator garden. Additionally, she was the editor of The Sequitur, the Westdale School newspaper. Eliza also excels academically and athletically, as demonstrated by being an honour role recipient, representing Westdale for the cross-country team at OFSAA, and pre-qualifying for her Black belt in Karate.
General Achievement Award (Sponsored by Hamilton Chamber of Commerce)
Noah Faulknor is an extremely deserving and giving youth, who has been an honour roll recipient for 3 consecutive years. He volunteers at Kiwani’s Boys and Girls Club — Skate to Dream, where he teaches underserved children how to skate and play hockey. Additionally, he is a math tutor to students, where he helps to simplify complex concepts to develop their understanding. Noah is also a Co-Op student for the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program and Experiential Learning, where he contributes a youth-perspective to learning materials and resources for teachers.
Audre Lorde Scholarship (Sponsored by Ruth Cameron)
Lerissa-Lynaé Mowatt contributes to her community through volunteering and music. She volunteered as a Youth Leader at the SPACE Youth Centre, where she helped facilitate conversations with other youth and facilitated community among LQBTQ+ and BIPOC students. Additionally, she initiated and planned an AIDS awareness event at her school. As a co-opo student at Dalewood Middle School, she supported staff and youth as a music and special needs teaching assistant. Lerissa-Lynaé is an accomplished musician, acting as the lead violinist, lead alto sax, conductor, and organizer for the Jr Orchestram Chamber Orchesta, Jr and Sr Repertoire Band, Sr Jazz Vand and Symphonic Orchestra. She has been awarded the Westdale SHSM Arts and Culture Award for her outstanding performance and leadership within the arts and co=op program, the Band Subject Award for her notable performance and leadership within the Westdale Repertoire Band, and was on the Dram’s List at Mohawk for maintaining a GPA above 85%.
Dr. Ethilda “Tilly” Johnson — Business/Entrepreneurship Bursary (sponsored by May-Marie Duwai Sowa)
Jalen Collins-Reid is a natural student leader who is interested in pursuing a Business degree. Under the Boys and Girls Club LeadUP program, he was a part of leading his youth group to implement community action projects to impact our neighbourhood, one of which was donating skating equipment to the Skate The Dream program which provided low barrier, no-cost access skating lessons to children who wanted to learn to play hockey. He was also a member of the Junior Boys Basketball team in 2020, and the Varsity Football Team in 2021. Jalen received the Boys and Girls Club Volunteer Appreciation Award, which acknowledged the volunteer work he contributed from 2018-2020. Additionally, he was named to the Honour Roll in 2020-2021 for his academic excellence.
Evelyn Myrie Political Action Bursary (sponsored by MP Matthew Green)
Esther Sowunmi is the co-founder of the Saints Against Racism Student Group at her school, an anti-racism group that informs and empowers students and staff. Additionally, she has volunteered with the Child Evangelism Fellowship as a summer missionary, and as a peer tutor, assisting junior students in completing their assignments. She has been named to the Honour Roll throughout her high school (2018-2022), and received the CT Lowe Award in 2021, given to one student from each grade is who achieves the highest point total in their grade for participation in extracurricular activities within the school and has a 71% or higher in their year-end marks.
Congratulations to these HWDSB students on winning big at this year’s Holland Awards. We want to also congratulate all the HWDSB award winners and nominees. You are all doing incredible work in your communities and we hope you continue to achieve great things.
Here is another link to The Hamilton Spectator website, where you can find the full list of nominees and winners. You can also visit the Reverend John C Holland Awards website to learn more about the event, as well as Hamilton Black History Council.