Winners of the Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship announced


Scholarship winners Fridaus Shallo and Joy Liu

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Public Board Council of OSTA-AECO are pleased to announce the winners of the 2020-21 Ontario Public Student Trustee Scholarship.

This scholarship is based on an outstanding leadership initiative accomplished during the student trustee’s term and how the initiative positively impacted the students in their board. Two scholarships, in the amount of $500 each, have been awarded to:

Firdaus Shallo, Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
A Grade 12 student at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Student Trustee Firdaus Shallo has shown community leadership since a young age and has impressed her teachers, fellow trustees, and senior school board staff alike throughout her year as Student Trustee. Firdaus has been featured in the Toronto Star, and created the Ward 4 Community Advisory Council to counter and de-centre dominant narratives surrounding the Jane-Finch community where she lives – an area that has always been perceived as having high crime rates. She plans on attending Middlebury College in Vermont and double majoring in International and Global Studies and Computer Science.

Joy Liu, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB)
As Student Trustee for the OCDSB and a Grade 12 student at Colonel By Secondary School in Ottawa, Joy Liu led a campaign and motion to fund free period products in OCDSB school washrooms called the ME (Menstrual Equity) Project. While drafting the motion for the ME Project, Joy consulted with multiple stakeholders, including LGBTQ+ student clubs and the Student Senate. Two unique clauses were created – that products also be placed in male washrooms and that students be educated on how to actually use the products. Joy says the ME Project will improve school participation for OCDSB students for years to come by ensuring that no student is without access to products, miss class, leave school, or use substitutes like toilet paper. She will be attending Yale University in the fall with a double major in political science and French or political science and economics.

The intent of this scholarship is to recognize outstanding achievement and provide financial support to a graduating public board student trustee to assist with their post-secondary education plans, whether they choose to attend university or college or start an apprenticeship.

“In the face of an ongoing pandemic, our student trustees continued to show their leadership at the board and school level through spearheading these, and other, outstanding initiatives,” said OPSBA President Cathy Abraham. “Their advocacy for student issues makes me very proud to recognize two of the brightest stars – Firdaus and Joy. We know they will find success in anything they set their mind to in the future and I wish them all the best as they head off to post-secondary education this fall.”

Student trustees represent the voice of students in decisions about education and they help keep students informed about important decisions that affect them. They play an important role in the education governance process and are actively working at the local board and provincial levels on a number of initiatives.

“We’d like to give a huge thank you to all of the applicants this year as well as a shoutout to all of the students doing great work in their communities even during a pandemic,” said Mahek Dhaliwal, OSTA-AECO Public Board Council President, and Zachary Garbaty, Public Board Council Vice-President. “It was incredible to see the passion, motivation, and drive student trustees across Ontario bring to their boards and communities every day. It’s been a pleasure to work with Firdaus and Joy this year, and we are excited to see them continue supporting their communities throughout their post-secondary programs.”