The Ontario Student Voice Awards

The Ontario Student Voice Awards (OSVAs) are given annually to outstanding graduating grade 12 students across Ontario. OSVAs are a way for the Ontario Student Trustees to give back to the most exceptional students in our province, those who dedicate their time into passionately representing their community and advocating for the issues most important to them. Each award is valued at $1000 CAD. 

We are proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Ontario Student Voice Awards below. More information about the awards can be found in the accordion at the bottom of the page.

Sean Tran

Sean Tran

Dedication To The Arts Award

Cawthra Park Secondary School, Peel District School Board

Artistry is at the core of Sean Tran’s leadership and community initiatives. Using the arts, he aims to uplift others through various involvements such as leading as the President of Photography Association at school and working as an Editorial Consultant with the CBC. He assisted in fundraising $32,500 to support a non-profit organization’s transition to virtual creative programming. As an artist, Sean is determined to break barriers, inspire change, and provide a voice to the unheard.

Linda Duong

Linda Duong

Student Voice Award

Bell High School, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

Linda Duong is passionate about childhood health and development, and therefore leads initiatives to support student voice on various geographical levels. As a co-founder and coordinator at Auxilium, Linda matched over 300 Ottawa students in a federally registered peer-mentoring initiative that addressed educational gaps during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, she co-founded Race to a Cure, another registered non-profit that encourages academically marginalized high school and post-secondary students to pursue research and civic improvement by producing studies, articles, media, and events for an audience of 6,000+ youth across Canada. Finally, Linda is an avid writer and has participated in Girl Genius Magazine’s and Dear Asian Youth’s writing projects, where her and her team’s articles shared the story of students worldwide, for students worldwide. As she enters university, Linda will pursue more youth-centred projects to continue advocating for student voice.

Kuldeep Bhangu

Kuldeep Bhangu

Sport's Leadership Award

Chinguacousy Secondary School, Peel District School Board

Optimistic and ambitious, Kuldeep Bhangu is an inspiring, all-around athlete. She is the captain of her basketball and volleyball and a member of the badminton and soccer team. Kuldeep’s mentorship, dedication, and sportsmanship have recognized her as the “Athlete of the year” for three years, consecutively. Beyond being an athlete, Kuldeep is a basketball coach, teaching the importance of healthy habits and daily fitness to young children. She is also the President of her school’s Athletic Council. Kuldeep remains a talented leader, referee, athlete, and mentor who consistently empowers and grows her community.

Charlene Rocha

Charlene Rocha

Environmental Stewardship Award

St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, Durham Catholic District School Board

Passionate about making a difference in her community, Charlene Rocha has advocated for intersectional environmental justice worldwide. After single-handedly representing the 95,000+ residents of her city and collecting 300+ signatures, she successfully appeared as a delegate to her mayor and city councillors to implement sustainability policies. Due to this involvement alongside many others, she starred in the CitizenKid docuseries where she taught viewers about the importance of youth leadership by demonstrating her own initiatives. Charlene looks forward to continuing to advocate for environmental justice as she pursues software engineering.

Suraj Bansal

Suraj Bansal

Entrepreneurial Initiative Award

Bayview Secondary School, York Region District School Board

Suraj fuels his entrepreneurial ambition by finding unconventional approaches to conventional problems. His innovative mindset first manifested while building an open-source autonomous vehicle startup to democratize self-driving cars. Realizing the potential of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for innovation, Suraj then co-founded Covbot, an AI chatbot to control COVID-19 misinformation on WhatsApp; helped develop web-based bioinformatics pipelines like CReSCENT to analyze single-cell RNA data; and recently launched Pharmalytics, a precision medicine startup to inform rational therapeutic design. These projects have fueled Suraj’s conviction to identify issues he’s passionate about and find an innovative solution to create meaningful change. 

Katelyn Weinstein

Katelyn Weinstein

Commitment to Justice Award

Assumption Catholic Secondary School, Halton Catholic District School Board

As a student, I strive to use my voice to uplift those who struggle to speak up, and have participated in various volunteer activities for causes that are important to me. One of my proudest accomplishments is my 15 by Fifteen Campaign, which raises over $11,000 to support maternal health in Guatemala. Finally, I have spent lots of time advocating for mental health supports, de-stigmatizing the conversation, and normalizing reaching out for help. This award will help me pursue a career in psychology so I can continue to advocate and use my experiences to be a leader in this world.

 

Commitment to Justice Award

The mission of the OSTA-AECO Commitment to Justice Award is to honour the achievements of students who show immense commitment and enthusiasm for justice. OSTA-AECO recognizes the courage put into creating a just environment for all.
These annual awards are the best opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work, dedication, and caring nature of the province’s most exceptional students. They also promote excellence in advocating for issues that students feel passionate about across Ontario. This award also allows for the recognition of students who work towards creating equity to combat injustices all around the world.

Criteria:

    • Demonstrates a devotion to justice 
    • Advocates for an issue they feel is particularly in need of equity
    • Is committed and dedicated to creating a just society 
    • Shows courage in speaking up for their beliefs
    • Stands up for social injustices
    • Devotes their time regularly to volunteer efforts  
Environmental Stewardship Award

The mission of the OSTA-AECO Environmental Stewardship Award is to honour the achievements of students who frequently promote the conservation of the natural environment through sustainable practices and their activities. OSTA-AECO recognizes the threat and effects of climate change, and the importance of living sustainably. 

This new award is an opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work, dedication, and caring nature of the province’s most exceptional students. They promote excellence in advocating for and living sustainably to better our natural environment for years to come. This award reminds students to continue to be active within their communities and to advocate for long-lasting change to make the world a better place.  

Criteria: 

  • Demonstrates a devotion to environmental sustainability  
  • Is committed and dedicated to preserving the natural environment 
  • Leads peers into bettering the environment
  • Devotes their time regularly to volunteer efforts
  • Speaks up and calls for action surrounding issues such as climate change
  • One reference letter highlighting why you are a suitable recipient for this award (Note: reference may not be from a family member)
  • Must be a graduating student
Dedication to the Arts Award

The mission of the OSTA-AECO Dedication to the Arts Award is to honour the accomplishments and achievements of secondary students who participate in tremendous ways through the arts, whether that be in their school or community. OSTA-AECO recognizes the commitment of students to the arts across Ontario.

These annual awards are an incredible opportunity to acknowledge the dedication, excellence and achievements of our secondary students in the province.

Criteria:

    • Involved in the Arts (visual arts, drama, music, photography, film, dance, etc.)
    • Shows passion and dedication in their Arts area(s) of choice
    • Shows a strong leadership presence within their arts community
    • Has participated in a wide variety of arts related events
Entrepreneurial Initiative Award

The mission of the OSTA-AECO Entrepreneurial Initiative Award is to honour the achievements of students who participate in innovative activities in areas including but not limited to mathematics, business, science and technology. OSTA-AECO recognizes the initiative of students who have visions to make a difference in the present and future world.
These annual awards are the best opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work, dedication, and excellence of the province’s most inventive students. Additionally, they inspire youth leadership through their efforts to start up amazing projects across Ontario. This award is given out to support those students who go above and beyond to status quo to bring new ideas to the world.

Criteria:

    • Demonstrates leadership and creative thinking
    • Has established new projects, businesses, inventions, councils or challenged theory.
    • Dedicates their time to serve their community
    • Perseveres through disappointment and is willing to make sacrifices to achieve a goal
Sports Leadership Award

The mission of the OSTA-AECO Sports Leadership Award is to honour the achievements of amateur and competitive athletes. OSTA-AECO recognizes the excellence of leadership in sport.

These annual awards are the best opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work, dedication and victories of the province’s finest athletes. In doing so, they also promote excellence in leadership through sport across Ontario. The awards remind youth how sport lifts the human spirit while acknowledging the true champions of sport. They celebrate the athletes and leaders who compete yet inspire hope.

Criteria:

    • Being a good role model to other students
    • Inspires and engages others in sports
    • Exemplifies qualities of fair play and good sportsmanship
    • Demonstrates expertise, experience and leadership in a variety of sports 
    • Commitment to the overall school and/or community sport programs
Student Voice Award

The mission of the OSTA-AECO Student Voice Award is to honour the achievements of students who participate in diverse and outstanding ways to represent the student voice throughout their community. OSTA-AECO recognizes the passion put into ensuring student voice is heard.
These annual awards are the best opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work, dedication, and excellence of the province’s most understanding students in Ontario. In addition, the award reminds youth that being active in advocating for students can result in community growth that encourages long-lasting leadership initiatives.

Criteria:

    • Is involved within school and/or community
    • Demonstrates leadership and advocates for student voice
    • Actively encourages inclusivity
    • Develops meaningful relationships and thrives in social interactions
    • Stands up for the opinions, rights and beliefs of students
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