On September 11, the Canadian Hearing Society (CHS)—a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with hearing loss overcome barriers to participation—officially awarded scholarships to 11 post-secondary students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, CHS announced. This is reportedly the largest number of scholarships and the highest value awarded to students in the organization’s 77-year history.
The awards were announced at the 2nd Annual President’s Golf Tournament, which raised a record $225,000. Proceeds from the tournament will be directed to the Canadian Hearing Society’s National Scholarship Fund. More than 100 golfers teed off at Lebovic Golf Club in Aurora to help Canadian deaf and hard-of-hearing students realize their academic dreams, CHS said in its announcement.
“The financial support provided by our sponsors and participants is an investment in a barrier-free Canada–a life-changing scenario not only for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students, but for each of us who will benefit from their contributions to society,” said Julia Dumanian, president and CEO of the Canadian Hearing Society. “We know more than 50% of deaf families in Canada live below the poverty line, and we know education has the power to transform their lives, and the lives of future generations. These scholarships are truly transformational.”
A committee of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing business leaders and academics reviewed applications from across Canada. They chose recipients based on key criteria, including student essays about how a scholarship would transform their futures.
“We received so many deserving and inspiring applications,” said Committee Chair and Canadian Hearing Society Board member Dr Linda Campbell. “Their stories were compelling and each one of us on the committee is proud to have been a key enabler to propel these students forward along their educational journey.”
One of the students benefiting from this scholarship program is 19-year-old Alessandra Iacovone, who was ecstatic to learn she was being awarded a scholarship, according to the announcement.
Born with Stickler Syndrome, she has profound hearing loss and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), which resulted in her becoming functionally blind for five years. As a young child Iacovone communicated through American Sign Language (ASL) and by reading lips, but she found communication increasingly difficult as her sight decreased. At the age of 12, she was given the ability to see through lens implantation. Shortly thereafter, Iacovone was asked to be a part of the under-18 Hybrid Cochlear Implant pilot program for North America.
“I am thrilled to pursue post-secondary studies at University,” says Iacovone. “Through great opportunities like this one, my goal is to work with those who live with challenging circumstances and help them to see that obstacles are an opportunity and every struggle is worth the sacrifice to bring dreams to fruition.”
The Canadian Hearing Society gratefully acknowledges presenting sponsor Lebovic Golf Club; Eagle Sponsor, Enginess; Birdie Sponsor Signia; Accessibility Sponsor Mathews Dinsdale; and our other generous sponsors and guests for their tremendous support that will enable more deaf and hard-of-hearing students to work towards their academic dreams. Additionally, we would like to thank the Walker Wood Foundation for their grant of $2,000 towards a full-time, post-secondary scholarship award.
Congratulations to the 2017 Canadian Hearing Society National Scholarship Fund recipients
$3,000 Award for Full-Time Post-Secondary Studies
Paul Bourgeois, Brandon Gillespie, Mariah Griffin-Angus
$2,000 Award for Full-Time Post-Secondary Studies
Joshua Gomes, Alessandra Iacovone, Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere, Jessica Romeo, Sarah Savoie
$1,000 Award for Part-Time Post-Secondary Studies
Jennifer Lauren Claydon, Samira Gouran-Savadkoohi, Nishi Savitri Rambocas
The Canadian Hearing Society is grateful to the 2017 National Scholarship Committee for their passion, commitment and time: Dr Linda Campbell (chair), Brahm Spilfogel, Diane Gregoris, Jim Kyte, Lynn Lockhart-Menzies, Nigel Howard, Pam Feldman, and Rex Banks.
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