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Announcing Our 2009 AEBC Scholarship Winners

Editor's Note: Valentina Gal is Secretary of AEBC's Toronto Chapter and also sits on AEBC's Scholarship and CBM committees.

  • The AEBC Rick Oakes Scholarship for the Arts is presented to Mr. Allan Angus, a Dean's List student at the University of Oshawa in Ontario. Despite his retinitis pigmentosa, Mr. Angus continues to pursue his Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Allan volunteers with both Oshawa and Ajax Town Councils with regard to Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act standards, and to projects such as audible pedestrian signals.

  • This year's winner of the AEBC National Achievement Scholarship is Mr. Anthony Tibbs, who was born with albinism and whose sight deteriorated in his final year of high school. As well as serving the AEBC as National Treasurer, Anthony has volunteered with organizations like the Council for Canadian Refugees and the Centre for Legal Information on Aging. He also has a part-time job to help make ends meet. Mr. Tibbs plans to graduate this spring from Montreal’s McGill University with his Law degree and work in law, business, technology, teaching--or some combination thereof!

  • This year's Alan H. Neville Memorial Scholarship goes to Ms. Helen McFadyen, a student at the Atlantic School of Theology. Losing her vision after age 50 due to a combination of diabetes and retinal degeneration, she is currently enrolled in the pre-ministerial program for seminarians, where she is working on her Master of Divinity. Ms. McFadyen has most recently volunteered with her local Municipality Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities, Tenant Appeal Board, AEBC and church. She also sings in a choir and writes a blog.

  • Mr. Koceïla Loualin is the recipient of the Reverend Leslie Ball Bursary for the Performing Arts. Employed as a journalist until he was diagnosed with Stargardt Syndrome, he now attends Vanier College where he hopes to achieve his dream of becoming a Classical guitar player, singer and composer, and go on to study at the Université du Québec or Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal. Mr. Loualin has had to learn how to use low vision aids, and English as a second language has been another challenge for him. He is a spokesperson for the Louis Braille Institute, is involved in politics, and is a soccer player and coach.

  • Ms. Stephanie Berry is this year's winner of the Reverend Leslie Ball Bursary for Vocational Training and Trades. Enrolled in the Masters of Education in Counselling-Clinical Psychology Program at the University of New Brunswick, she hopes to work in a counselling/social work capacity. Stephanie says her retinitis pigmentosa, the rural nature of her province, and the bilingual requirement of many jobs in New Brunswick have all combined to make finding employment difficult. Ms. Berry volunteers at hospitals and crisis helplines, has spoken at various groups, and interned at CNIB and the Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work. She also enjoys horseback riding and writing poetry.

Author’s Note: I would like to thank the AEBC for asking me to sit on the Scholarship Committee. It has been an honour and privilege. I am most impressed with the quality and scope of the applications. Their interests covered everything from the practical to the artistic and the spiritual to the scientific. Any one of them could have made the AEBC proud.

Photo: Allan Angus, Ontario
Photo: Helen McFayden, Nova Scotia