SHAD Fellows named top story of 2017 for inspiring change in their communities
Two SHAD Fellows, Emma Landry and Kathy Nodzynski, who received $10,000 RBC Students Leading Change Scholarships for leading and inspiring change in their communities, have been chosen in online voting as the top SHAD network stories of 2017.
Landry, of Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, is passionate about educating people about the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. She was a member of the Gender Sexuality Alliance in her high school and says it was important in her small community to create an environment where everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, feels safe and accepted.
“You shouldn’t be discriminated against because of who you love or who you want to spend your life with,” Landry says.
Landry says she was inspired to be a key member of the club by one of her friends and after attending the award-winning SHAD enrichment and entrepreneurship program in the summer of 2016.
“Seeing all the amazing students across Canada doing so many amazing and unique things to better Canada as a whole really made me want to do more to help as much as I could in my community,” Landry says.
She is currently studying computer science at Queen’s University hoping to code and develop software and work for one of the tech giants.
Nodzynski of Montreal successfully initiated the “DAER project” in her community to send used children’s books to rural communities in India where her mother grew up in the hope of encouraging literacy.
“DAER” stands for read backwards and her books travel by bike as a mobile library to help hundreds of students.
“Meeting students (at the SHAD network in 2015) and seeing them doing great things, it’s just motivation for me to continue to do the same,” says Nodzynski, who is now in first year at McGill University looking to go to medical school.
A SHAD Fellow who helped raise thousands of dollars so students from a remote First Nations school in Northern Ontario could participate in a robotics competition was another one of the winners of the SHAD network’s top stories of 2017.
Samantha Hollinrake, a grade 11 student in Oakville, Ontario, produced a promotional video that permitted high school students from Sioux Lookout, Ontario, a remote community at the top of Ontario, to obtain $25,000 in sponsorship to attend a First Robotics competition at McMaster University in Hamilton.
“Last year, they had to travel by boat, then by small plane and train to get to McMaster,” Hollinrake says. As students in the Greater Toronto Area, we take this for granted and I didn’t think it was fair. We knew they didn’t have resources. We just thought it’s important to do a video to capture what was going on at the competition and show how robotics is really helping these students expand their knowledge in STEM (science, tech, engineering and math).”
The video was sent to an official with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada who couldn’t attend the competition. After seeing the video and the impact the experience had on the students, INAC agreed to sponsor the team.
“I feel like I’m helping the future because these are students there that are so intelligent who may never have this opportunity to show that intelligence,” Hollinrake says.
Robert Docherty, the coach and mentor for the Sioux Lookout team says he was delighted to see what Hollinrake did for his students. He said the video not only helped them obtain the sponsorship, they showed it to all 185 First Nations students at an assembly and posted it on Facebook so help inspire other kids in their home communities in the north.
“This has a huge impact. They are growing up in remote communities. The majority are fly in communities so our students really come isolated from that experience. Taking them down to Toronto it opens their eyes to all the possibilities not just for robotics.”
Hollinrake says just being on the list of nominees for the SHAD top 17 stories for 2017 was an honour.
“There are Forbes under 30 recipients on that list and many others who have accomplished so many things. I don’t look at this as wow it’s great I made it on there, it’s more like wow it’s great all these outstanding SHAD youth are being recognized for their achievements.”
Another of the SHAD network’s top stories of 2017 was six SHADs being nominated to Newfoundland and Labrabor Premier Dwight Ball’s Youth Council. The six SHADs will advise the premier on youth issues in that province.
View the full list of SHAD network’s top stories of 2017.