EDITORIAL: If youth are our future then the future is bright

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
EDITORIAL: If youth are our future then the future is bright
Two Cornwall youths Ikam Kaur Riar, 10, and Ibadat Kaur Riar, 5, with their wildflower pots at the Summer Playground Program's Eco Day. Learn more about this and other youth related issues in our special youth pages on page X (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

This week’s special pages in Seaway News are celebrating the youth of our community. Since youth are our future, I can tell you that here in Cornwall and the surrounding community, we are in very good hands.

From this past year alone, we have seen many young faces in the community step-up, offer their support, and contribute.

To start, youth have been at the forefront for raising awareness of a few recent issues in the community. The protest in Cornwall in the wake of George Floyd’s death was led by two young women of colour, Bethany Brown and Annissa Mohammed.

More recently, another youth active in our community, Osama Chaudhry helped lead a virtual vigil in Cornwall in honour of the Muslim family who were killed this summer in London, ON in a terrorist attack.

I think Osama Chaudhry and his siblings Haleema and Hafsa have been community leaders for awhile now, having organized fundraisers at their schools to help fight childhood cancer, and last year they made and donated facemasks to those who needed them.

There are far more young people in this community who have gone above and beyond to make a positive impact.

Every year YourTV Cornwall does their part to recognize overachieving young citizens in Cornwall with their Youth Achievement Awards. Every year YourTV awards local youth for things like showing kindness and making a difference. The aforementioned Haleema Chaudhry was one local youth who was recognized as a “Difference Maker” this year.

These awards are presented in partnership with the Optimist Club of Cornwall, which has a youth affiliate where local young people can get an early start in community volunteering.

In the world of academia, we also have bright young stars. One that immediately comes to mind is Affaan Ali. The recent St. Lawrence Secondary School (SLSS) graduate won a $80,000 Schulich Leader Scholarship which will go to cover his expenses at the University of Ottawa.

Ali distinguished himself as a student at SLSS, being on the honour roll every year since Grade 9 and finishing high school with a class average of about 98.5 per cent. He also served on student council, in the school band, and begin a tutoring business where he shared his knowledge with his peers.

Local youth are well represented in student government in both the public and Catholic school boards.

Tagwi Secondary School Student Jordan Evans served as one of the student trustees this year for the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) and both Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario (CDSBEO) student trustees are local youth. One is Kennah Delage of St. Joseph’s Catholic Secondary School, and the other is Julia Vo of Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School. I hope that all of these students excel in their post-secondary studies and return to become pillars of their community.

Cornwall has great services to help support youth including the Youth Services Hub, and the City’s own Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre, which runs a Summer Company program for students each year.

Starting a business is hard in any year, and can be a challenge for even a seasoned entrepreneur, but this year’s Summer Company program saw six young business professionals take on that very challenge and in a pandemic no less.

This week, Seaway News is celebrating youth, and we have many young people in our community of whom we can be proud.

Do you know a youth who’s done something exceptional this year? Email us a Letter to the Editor to tell us about them to nseebruch@seawaynews.media

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