(February 24, 2015) – The Peel Art & Essay Awards for high school students were presented to the winners at a gala dinner on February 18 at the Mississauga Convention Centre.
The theme for the 2014 competition was ‘Volunteers – Heroes Among Us.’
“Your art and essays have certainly captured my sentiments about the vital role that volunteers play in our society, locally and globally,” keynote speaker Shelley White, President and CEO of United Way of Peel Region, told the winners.
The Peel Art & Essay Awards is a collaborative effort of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute GTA, Peel District School Board, and the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board.
“We’re extremely delighted to be witnessing this evening because we’ve have been waiting for this evening for the last ten months,” Azim Shamshiev, Executive Vice-President – GTA West of the Intercultural Dialogue Institute GTA, said in his welcoming remarks. “It is a great time for us to see the fruits of this Art & Essay writing contest.”
The Region of Peel, Peel Regional Police, Peel Children’s Aid Society, Art Gallery of Mississauga and Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre also support the contest.
The event brought together the award recipients and their family members, as well as educators, politicians, and civic and community leaders in Peel Region.
The awards presentation was a highlight of the evening with the top three students in both categories receiving gifts from the organizers of the contest. All top finalists were recognized and the students also received certificates presented by MPP Jagmeet Singh.
“I have the good fortune of working with volunteers throughout my life and my career,” said Shelley White in her keynote address. “I have so many fond memories of the wonderful impact that volunteers made in my life during the formative years.”
“As a child, I remember having such courageous and fun-loving Girl Guide leaders who took us camping and taught us camp songs and provided us with volunteer opportunities.”
According to the organizers, the contest aims “to motivate students, regardless of their ethnic and cultural backgrounds, to reflect on topics related to volunteering such as altruism, civic engagement, community service and responsible citizenship.”
“It will provide them with a unique opportunity to express their ideas on the topic through writing and art.”
The Peel Art & Essay Contest is open to all students in grades 9 to 12 from the Peel District School Board and the Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board.
In here address, Shelley White spoke about her many volunteer experiences and how these activities have enriched her life.
“These experiences prepared me for the incredible relationships that I’ve had with volunteers throughout my career,” she said. “I’ve the unique privilege of working with volunteers daily – volunteerism is a core value of the United Way.”