At a virtual ceremony held on Wednesday May 6, John Abbott College recognized the dedication and efforts of 43 students with a Service and Leadership Award. This year the College was forced to hold the ceremony using the Zoom platform. The event was held live and recipients were encouraged to invite family and friends to view the event.
The awards were established to honour students who made a significant contribution to student life and/or service of others at the College. Students who were nominated were recognized in one of four areas of engagement:
a) Participated and made a meaningful contribution to a student club, service organization or committee
b) Contributed as the leader or a significant supporter in the creation of a new project inside the College or community
c) Provided a service to other students at John Abbott College.
d) Volunteerism in and around the College
Additionally, 3 students were recognized for their Outstanding Service. The Outstanding Service Award was presented to those students, in good academic standing, whose contributions are of such a nature that their accomplishments are generally recognized throughout the College.
Steve Richard was the first student to receive the Outstanding Service and Leadership Award as someone who generously gives of himself. Steve was the head of the Police Tech student association and the student representative of the Police Tech department who attended all of the career days within the Indigenous communities of Oka, Khanawake and downtown Montreal trying to encourage Indigenous students to consider a career in law enforcement. He was there for major college events including the John Abbott College Foundation loonie lines and golf tournaments. Steve also participated in other community fundraisers like the Polar Bear challenge for special Olympics. Finally, Steve has volunteered multiple years with the ON CAMPUS PROGRAM of the West Montreal Re-adaptation Centre and was an excellent role model at promoting social acceptance at the College.
Ameilia Stephenson was the second student to receive the Outstanding Service and Leadership Award. Two words best describe her: passionate and hard working. Her focus has been to answer the questions “How do we make things better for those who do not have the same advantages as we do in Canada?” and “How can we help make life better for others in need within our local community?” This year Ameila was on a mission:
As the president of the largest club on campus, MEDLIFE, Ameila dedicated her time to help educate students on the MEDLIFE Movement, “that of creating a world free from the constraints of poverty”. Club members were required to volunteer locally, help raise funds for the movement and the planned service-learning trip to Peru, scheduled for the end of May. Sadly, like almost all activities, this trip was cancelled, robbing 25 students of the opportunity and the learning experience to provide medical assistance to others.
Amelia also helped create and became co-president of MEDLIFE Montreal, bringing together all the local Montreal Medlife chapters from various Cegeps and Universities.
Not busy enough, Amelia went on to start and lead a new club at the College, JAC Impact. The club focused on planning and implementing fundraisers and awareness campaigns to support cancer research initiatives and learn more about the advances in medical research.
Nathaniel Saad was the final student to receive the Outstanding Service and Leadership Award. As president of the Student Union of John Abbott College (SUJAC), Nathaniel used his position and influence to help support his fellow students. Diplomatic, patient, a great listener, thoughtful, always giving and a natural leader. These were some of the words that describe Nathaniel. He coached others within SUJAC and Congress to be the voices for all students. In his deliberations, the thought of how the decision may impact other students the primary consideration.
He was a man of the hallways, always wanting to hear from students. On several occasions, he and some of his fellow executives would setup in the hallways to find out what were some of the concern’s students had at the College and what were their expectations of their student council.
This year, Nathaniel was the pre-university representative on the John Abbott Board of Governors and on the Executive Committee. He played a significant roll in the development process of John Abbott’s new 5-year strategic plan by promoting and encouraging students to vote have voice in the new strategic orientations the College will adopt.
Finally, during the virtual end of the semester, Nathaniel really took charge to make sure that SUJAC’s voice and student concerns over the transition were expressed to the administration. The feedback was suggestions were greatly appreciated and well received by the administration.