Soup fundraiser ladles out social justice scholarships

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Four graduating Grade 12 students from two Welland secondary schools have been named recipients of the $1,000 St. Kevin Food Bank Social Justice Scholarship for 2014.

The students, and some biographical information about them, are:



School: Notre Dame;

Going To: Niagara College, Child and Youth Studies;

Parish: St. Ann, Fenwick;

Social Justice Involvement: Harvest Kitchen meal program, 600 hours of community service time at local soup kitchens, homelessness initiatives, pro-life supporter;

Reference quote: “Jacob’s commitment to his community is evident and when coupled with his academic excellence in his chosen field he truly is active as a leader, respected, and considered to be a well-rounded citizen in his school and community.” – John Belcastro, vice principal, Notre Dame;

Verbatim: “…my career path is the definition of social justice. Helping people feel their worth in society, that’s what I plan to do. I want to be a therapist for kids with mental disorders and instil them with the confidence to overcome their lack of confidence. I want them to know they are different and that it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being unique.” – Jacob Campbell.



School: Notre Dame;

Going to: University of British Columbia, International Relations;

Parish: St. Kevin;

Social Justice Involvement: Social climate committee animator, Eco-Schools club, fair trade club, Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace participant and assembly organizer; Free the Children supporter and event participant; pilgrimage, pro-life supporter, missionary trip participant to Lima, Peru to help in construction of a medical centre, more;

Reference quote: “This year Rachel travelled to Peru, an experience that has opened her eyes to the needs of our international community. She has volunteered to make a presentation and share her experience with our youth group and instil in them that they can make a difference no matter what age.” – Dahlia Brannigan, St. Kevin’s youth ministry co-ordinator;

Verbatim: “After raising money for the Malala Fund, a project supported by Free the Children, I took a vow of silence for 24 hours which involved no speaking, hand signals, texting or using social media. This vow of silence was to create awareness of the millions of children around the world who are not given the opportunity to go to school and receive an education, especially the girls who are denied access to education simply because they are girls.”- Rachel Lauder.



School: Ecole secondaire Confederation;

Going to: Brock University, Co-op Psychology;

Parish: St. Andrew the Apostle;

Social Justice Involvement: Out of the Cold (Harvest Kitchen) involvement at Sacre-Coeur parish, Operation Christmas Child participant, founding member (with her family) of Operation What Are Friends For, raised funds and gave assistance and hope to a friend who suffered a life-altering accident; youth ministry justice initiatives at St. Andrew, raising awareness of social issues such as bullying, more;

Reference quote: “Chelsie clearly demonstrates compassion, kindness and love for others by actively engaging in several church and community efforts that deal with poverty and hunger, both here in our community and internationally. She is ready to spare her time and talents for others, she is committed to teaching the biblical principles of love, justice and compassion, understanding that they are instrumental to positive change in people and the world.” – Fr. Paul Vellakunnathu, pastor, St.. Andrew the Apostle;

Verbatim: “…I plan on staying true to the teachings of my faith and using them as a foundation to my counseling. Also, I hope to publish some writings and lead seminars to educate people in our society, to show how their actions affect others and how proactive changes can be made to reduce some of the common causes of problems.”- Chelsie Resch.



School: Notre Dame;

Going To: St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Bachelor of Arts program;

Parish: St. Ann, Fenwick;

Social Justice Involvement: social climate leadership, Development and Peace Action Campaign organizer, youth forum participant and leadership roles, pilgrimage, food drive organizer and participant, Montreal Massacre Prayer Service reader, Walk Against Male Violence participant and organizer, fair trade club, more;

Reference quote: “….what sets her apart is her social intelligence. She is very deeply aware of the suffering of those around her and has always responded intelligently and with much love.” – Fr. Paul MacNeil, pastor, St. Ann Church, Fenwick;

Verbatim: “For as long as I can remember, my faith has been a prominent part of my life. Now, as I grow older, it has become increasingly important to me. I hang on to my values even more firmly in a rapidly changing, growing world. These values have always led me to social justice. I have found fulfillment in working towards the common good, helping others reach their potential and creating a world that Jesus wants to realize.”- Hannah Zamora.

Hannah was also the inaugural recipient of the Eileen McCarthy Scholarship for Social Justice, in memory of a former teacher at Notre Dame, a dedicated social justice activist and leader for many years.

Nine students in total applied for the St. Kevin Food Bank Social Justice Scholarship. Applicants were required to complete a questionnaire and to take part in an interview with the social justice scholarship committee where they responded to a set of pre-determined questions for all, and answered impromptu questions from committee members. They were required to provide details of social justice involvement and participation in their school and the community at large, and to have a record of solid academic achievement over their four years of secondary school.

The scholarships were presented at Notre Dame’s commencement held Wednesday, June 25 and at Confederation’s on Thursday, June 26.

The scholarship’s main fundraiser is Soup’s On!, held at St. Kevin parish annually on the last Friday in January.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)



















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