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Celebrating Student Success
Celebrating Student Success

Group photo of the 2019 Celebrating Student Success recipients

“Success” is defined in many different ways. Celebrating Student Success highlights 20 exemplary York Region District School Board students who represent over 124,000 students who achieve success each day. Traditionally, the selected students personify excellence through a combination of character, leadership, academic achievement and service to the school and/or community.

The accomplishments of these students are celebrated at an annual dinner which is attended by each student’s parents or guardians, nominator and principal as well as Board trustees and administration. This event recognizes the success of our students as well as the contributions of teachers and staff to achieving student success. It also honours the role of parents and families in achieving student success while supporting the Ministry of Education’s “Education Week” initiative. ??????????

The 2019 Cele?brating Student Success students are:

Aaliyah Suleman James Robinson P.S.?? Markham
Alexis Romanowitch Glad Park P.S.? Stouffville
Alisa Cipressi King City S.S. King City
Amanda Bishop
Aurora H.S.?
Birnavan Varnacumaaran? Cedarwood P.S. Markham
Daniella Vizelter Westmount C.I.? Thornhill
?Ezekiel Liu ?Bayview Hill E.S.? ?Richmond Hill
Jacob Lisogurski Thornhill Woods P.S. Thornhill
Jaden Slade
Jersey P.S.?
Leo O'Hara
King City S.S.? King City
?Max Le Moine ?Dr. G.W. Williams S.S.? ?Aurora
Mia Paunovic? Oscar Peterson P.S.? Stouffville
Nicole In? Dr. G.W. Williams S.S.?
Rianna Abrams Fred Varley P.S.? Markham
Ron Hyman Thornhill S.S.? Thornhill
Tatiana Gajcevic Sir William Mulock S.S.? Newmarket
Taylor Cole? Phoebe Gilman P.S.? East Gwillimbury
Trent Myette Sutton D.H.S. Sutton
Victor Wang? Pierre Elliott Trudeau H.S.? Markham
Wenbo (Bob) Pang
Thornhill S.S. Thornhill

Tatiana Gaj?cevic

Sir William Mulock S.S.?

Tatiana has been an active member of the student body at Sir William Mulock S.S. She has participated in many different committees and groups including the Peer Mentors, Prefects, Relay for Life planning committee and Student Council. Tatiana has flourished as the Student Council President and organizes weekly meetings to plan the activities that promote student well-being. She formed the “Council of Councils” for school leaders to come together and discuss how to best organize and run these events. She is also one of the organizers of “Relay for Life” at Mulock where she has been a lead fundraiser and ambassador in the community.

Nic?ole In

Dr. G.W. Williams S.S.

Nicole is a leader of the school’s Peer Mentor Group and the Me to We group, where she was a facilitator of a book drive which donated over 1,300 books to organizations in need. She also sold rafiki bracelets enabling proceeds to be sent to mothers in Kenya to support their community. Her leadership in the school’s food drive resulted in over 1,000 items of food being donated to a local food bank. She also volunteers with Hand Up Toronto (a community outreach organization that provides meals to the homeless), the Canadian Cancer Society and the school’s Best Buddies group.

Rianna A?brams 

Fred Varley P.S.

Rianna is active in the school choir, band, Girls Get IT program (coding club for female-identifying students) and the Up-Cycling club. Her work in the Girls Get IT and Up-Cycling clubs is creating lasting items that will be utilized by future students, including sit-spot mats that will let classes get outside more often. Rianna consistently reaches out to her peers who are on the periphery, helping them feel included and a part of the larger community.

Max Le Moine

Dr. G.W. Williams S.S.

Max has excellent leadership qualities demonstrated through his involvement in Best Buddies, the Terry Fox Run (be it on his feet or specialized bike) and community involvement such as a Christmas turkey “giveaway” that he has been part of for over five years.  He was asked to speak at YRDSB’s annual Quest conference in November 2018, advocating for the continuation of the program run by CTN called Me and My Community (a program for high school students with disabilities who are college or university bound). Born with cerebral palsy, which left Max with physical disabilities and a speech impediment, he is known among his peers for his quick wit and sarcasm and has won several ‘Student of the Month’ awards.

Birnavan Var??nacumaaran 

Cedarwood P.S.

Birnavan started a student led tutoring club for all students in the school. He manages tutors and tutoring of students from Grades 3-8 during morning recess twice a week. Birnavan submitted a proposal for a club to bring together support for LGBTQ community students within the school.  He is also the president of our Student Council Change Makers. He continues to initiate and implement school wide events such as wellness weeks, dances, fund raising, spirit days and staff appreciation initiatives. Birnavan has been part of the Boys’ Basketball team and he is a member of the Boys’ Volleyball team. He is also a star member of the Drama Club.

Ron Hy?man

Thornhill S.S.

Ron currently serves as a valued Prefect, Student Mentor and member of the Student Advisory Committee for CEC West. He was instrumental in co-creating the school’s “House System” and led his peers in collecting non-perishable food and new clothing to help others in the community. The students from all four Houses filled three vehicles with food and clothing which was delivered to 360 Kids. Ron initiated the creation of, developed and heads the school’s Robotics Club. His passion for robotics led him to volunteer at the Ryerson University Robotics Summer Camp for Kids the past few summers. This led to an invitation to work on a Ryerson University project where Ron helped Ryerson students develop an interactive installation for the Expo for Design, Innovation and Technology (EDIT) program. Ron is also a member of Thornhill SS’ DECA Business Club and has delivered a TED-style talk as a featured “Student Voice” speaker at the YRDSB Quest 2018 Conference.

Aaliyah S?uleman 

James Robinson P.S.

Aaliyah has demonstrated mature leadership since her arrival at James Robinson P.S. in September 2017. Aaliyah’s school leadership is demonstrated through many initiatives, including initiating and heading up the school yearbook committee; escorting Kindergarten students from the busing area to and from their classroom teacher everyday; and reading 1:1 with at-risk Kindergarten students during personal independent work periods. She is a member of the Green Team, Mindful Minute team and Robinson Recess Ranger team. She was also the winner of the African Heritage Month Award in spring 2018.

Wenbo (Bob) ?Pang 

Thornhill S.S.

Bob came to Canada in 2015 as a VISA student from China. Last year, he was elected as Student Council Treasurer and also served as President of the Hand in Hand (an Asian Culture) Club. The club supports the transition of ESL students and promotes inter-ethnic knowledge, dialogue and respect. Bob has helped to facilitate various events, including the school's VISA orientation, holiday and cultural Celebrations and the Asian Heritage Festival. This year, Bob is the Student Council President. In order to support the school’s growing English Language Learners (ELL) population, Bob and his team introduced a new role in Student Council to represent these students directly. This year, Student Council welcomed two new ELL Student Senators who advocate for all ELLs.

Daniella Vi?zelter 

Westmount C.I.

Daniella has overcome many personal obstacles in her past. She missed six weeks of school in Grade 11 to have an invasive back surgery. She now lives, and thrives, with a metal spine and limited movement. She continues to make amazing artwork in the Arts West program. Daniella has been the driving force of the Shields Initiative that creates mobility aids for children receiving treatment in hospitals. She has helped with the organization, distribution, website design, connecting with community partners and creation of the Shields. Additionally, she helps to organize and run fundraising events that help cover the cost of distributing Shields to the children at no cost to their families.

Taylor ?Cole

Phoebe Gilman P.S.

Taylor has overcome setbacks that most adults would struggle with overcoming. She is highly involved in her school, from assisting in the community room, playing on every sport team, involved in all bands, being a member of Me to We and doing all announcements. She motivates friends to support causes such as Terry Fox, Jump Rope for Heart and food drives. Taylor cheers students from the bench of basketball games, helps shelve books in the library, and can be found taking the initiative to help students in the classroom.     

Victor Wa?ng 

Pierre Elliott Trudeau H.S.

Victor has been integral in creating many special events in our school. “HerStory” is an event that Victor envisioned, planned and implemented for the school’s female students. The conference created safe conditions for critical dialogue and allowed young women to share their stories. The second initiative that Victor is responsible for creating is Love Week, which occurs during the week of Valentine’s Day. Weaving the theme of “love” into each day for one week, it focuses on topics including bullying, racism, sexism, ableism and LGBTQ+ issues. Victor also created and wrote a short film entitled “Diversity is our Strength” that showed the different perspectives and lived experiences of students. It received the YRDSB Applause award and won best overall film at the 2017 Ontario Student Leadership Conference.

Alexis Rom?anowitch 

Glad Park P.S.

Alexis began as a Glad Park STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) team leader where she was on the planning committee for the school’s STEAM Night. She planned and presented the school’s journey of organizing a STEAM Night at the Youth Edtech Summit (YES 2018). This year,  she has organized with STEAM leaders in presenting hands-on STEAM challenges to students in Grades 1-4. Alexis engaged in research and data collection created a survey for students. Based on their responses, she created a schedule and organized the STEAM activities to the students during lunch recess.

Jacob Lisog?urski 

Thornhill Woods P.S.

Jacob has worked tirelessly to advocate and bring about changes in attitudes toward marginalized members of his school and community. He planned and led Purple Day at his school to bring awareness and acceptance to the LGBTQ2S members of the community. He has created resource lessons for teachers to use to continue this discussion in their class and innovative activities for students to engage in. As part of the Students for Change (a group of his peers that advocate for inclusivity), Jacob has led Treaty Recognition Week, Wellness Day with a focus on supporting mental health, Holocaust Memorial Week among many other initiatives in his school. He takes on many responsibilities within the classroom, throughout the school and the school board as the Regional Student Equity Committee representative

Ja?den Slade 

Jersey P.S.

Jaden has been involved in programs such as Kindergarten Helpers and Lunch Monitoring. Jaden’s leadership was demonstrated last school year, when she decided to create and share a presentation about alopecia to all Grade 3-8 classes. As a sufferer of the condition, she has experienced unfair and discriminating comments about her hair loss. In response, she decided to advocate and educate about alopecia to her peers, helping to make our school community more aware and inclusive.

Mia Paunov?ic 

Oscar Peterson P.S.

Mia is part of the intermediate Student Leadership Club, which places volunteer students in roles of responsibility in clubs around the school. Her responsibilities include the Eco-Club, Technology club and Instrumental Extra Help (helping younger grades improve on their musical instrument).  She is also a founding student member of the school’s first Reach for the Top trivia team and a member of the Intermediate Girls Basketball team. In the Eco-Club, Mia has played a key role in planning and implementing programs for the Primary Eco-Team and strives to facilitate a program for younger students that is engaging, fun and educational.

Trent M?yette 

Sutton D.H.S.

Trent has demonstrated leadership within the school community by his individual growth. Now in his senior year, Trent has evolved into a young man who has become very employable. Throughout his senior year, he has obtained certifications in the following: CPR, AED, First-Aid Level C, Young Workers Awareness, WHMIS, Workers Responsibility and Rights, Chain-Saw Safety and Handling and Fork-Lift Safety Awareness - Theory and Practical. Trent is the first to get at the task and encourage the other students to jump on board and get the task done

Ezekiel Li?u 

Bayview Hill E.S.

Ezekiel’s athletic ability, determination and perseverance have recently led to his success as a Special Olympian. In February 2019, Ezekiel participated in the Special Olympics Provincial Winter Games in the speed skating events. He won four medals in total: gold for 111m and 333m and silver for 222m and 500m. Ezekiel volunteers with our School Council parents to help sort milk for the milk program. He also shelves books in the school library every week. As a student with autism, Ezekiel has developed positive relationships with his integration peers, who embrace him as part of the classroom community.

Leo ?O'Hara

King City S.S.

Leo is an engaged and caring citizen of the King City Secondary School community and his broader community. He has immersed himself in his chosen pathway of agriculture and is employed at a local dairy farm where he works milking cows every weekend morning beginning at 6:00 a.m. After school, Leo works at a cash crop farm, working a grain elevator, shipping and receiving crops. He does all this while continuing to help on his own family’s dairy farm. Leo’s initiative and active participation in the agricultural field continues through his membership in the 4H club. Leo has acted as a mentor to Grade 9 students and created a caring, equitable and inclusive environment for new students, engaging them in team-building activities both at school and at a three-day overnight camp. 

Alisa Cipre?ssi 

King City S.S.

Alisa is a long time member of our Student Council, having joined as a member-at-large in Grade 9 and is now the Vice President in Grade 12. Alisa has been actively involved in planning and implementing many Student Council events including the One Match, bone marrow matching initiative, the semi-formal, King City spirit day and the Green Team. Through her involvement with Student Council, Alisa has visited the parents at our School Council and reached out to many local businesses to foster mutually beneficial relationships. Alisa has made connections with our Town Council and contacted various news organizations to promote events at our school. Two such events have been the Relay for Life in support of the Canadian Cancer Society and the annual Terry Fox Run.

Amanda Bis?hop

Aurora H.S.

Over her four years at Aurora High School, Amanda has actively contributed to the Equity Club, the Gay Straight Alliance, Peer Mentors, York Music Camp and Empowering Students Partnership (ESP). She is currently the president of ESP and is on the Executive of the Music Council where she has coordinated the Santa Claus Parade float and the Year End Music Council Banquet. One of her greatest accomplishments has been the creation and coordination of the “Why Code Aurora” event that encourages girls to consider careers in the STEM fields. She initiated this event, found the speakers, marketed the event and organized all aspects of the evening. This event was extremely well received by the community and highlighted how Amanda has given back to the community.


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