OMDREB Celebrates 2023 Annual Scholarship Winners

Milton, ON, June 20, 2022 – The Oakville, Milton and District Real Estate Board’s annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony recognizes the talented students and winners of the OMDREB Annual Scholarship. This year’s Awards Ceremony was held the evening of Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

For 2023, OMDREB’s Scholarship focus was surrounding housing, community resources and support. This is in line with OMDREB’s President’s Charity for this year, which is Halton Women’s Place. This year’s essay submissions were creative, thought provoking, and well-researched.

In alphabetical order, the winners of the 2023 OMDREB Scholarship Awards are:

Leena El-Said – Thomas A. Blakelock High School

Leena is a dedicated leader in her school community. She has been heavily involved in various extracurricular activities and impactful initiatives during her time at Blakelock. One notable achievement was her role in organizing the first ever Blakelock Multicultural Night.

Leena has also been actively involved in the school Eco Club, where she has displayed a strong passion for environmental sustainability. She was an integral member of the Truth and Reconciliation team, playing an active role in planning and organizing events to raise awareness.

Her representation of student-led events and highlighting of cultural organizations within the school has been impactful to all students within the community.

Her leadership skills, organizational abilities, and passion for promoting diversity and inclusion made her a well-rounded candidate for this scholarship.

A notable quote from Leena’s essay was, “Addressing the affordable housing crisis in Halton will require a combination of strategies that increase the supply of affordable housing, provide funding for affordable housing initiatives, reduce regulatory burdens, and provide direct assistance to low-income individuals and families. By taking these steps, Halton can help make housing more affordable for its residents and improve the quality of life for all those who call the region home. By engaging residents, promoting information, and building partnerships, municipalities can help create a community that values and supports affordable housing for all.”

Kriti Kharbanda – Milton District High School

As a Grade 12 Student Government representative, Kriti has assisted in the planning and execution of sports tournaments, spirit days and dances, as well as maintaining membership in the school’s Eco Club. Kriti’s commitment to the Milton community is just as admirable, volunteering in the Santa Claus parade by distributing gifts to children along the parade route.

Kriti’s dedication to academic excellence is further highlighted through part time employment as a tutor, assisting students with success in both mathematics and English.

She always demonstrates a strong will to meet expectations in an ever-changing environment. She has a strong sense of responsibility and embodies her school’s motto: Belong. Elevate. Respect.

Kriti incorporates balance amidst her studies and commitments, as she carves out time to tap into her creative side through reading, drawing and playing the piano.

A notable quote from Kriti’s essay was, “In light of the housing crisis in Southern Ontario, it is essential to explore sustainable and responsible approaches to address the issue. While utilizing the Greenbelt for housing development may appear as a quick fix, it would come at a significant cost to the environment, recreation, and quality of life. It is crucial to strike a balance between meeting housing needs and protecting the environment to ensure that Southern Ontario continues to thrive as a sustainable region.”

Kaelyn Silva -Abbey Park High School

Kaelyn is always willing to help in any capacity that is needed. She is punctual, positive and reliable whether she’s attending class, or pursuing her hobbies. Her level of volunteerism provided her with over 145 hours with The Oakville Titans football team. She was a great example to other students and players.

As Kaelyn grew through high school, she helped extensively with the local Oakville UA Flag Football program. She was crucial in helping the league run smoothly on game nights. She went out to all games, always prepared, and was always attentive to players and parents’ needs.

Her interactions with everyone are always professional, and come with a smile and a great attitude.

Kaelyn’s essay focused on domestic violence, a theme highlighted by Halton Women’s Place. A notable quote from Kaelyn’s essay was, “There are many steps in truly changing a person’s pattern of abuse, and these can sometimes take a lifetime to complete. An abuser must: admit to what they have done, make amends, accept responsibility, identify the attitudes and controlling behaviours that drive their abuse, stop making excuses, carry their weight, and more.”

Ezekiel “Keze” Tatem – Aldershot High School

Ezekiel’s gentle and kind attitude always brings a feeling of warmth to everyone he meets. He is never the loudest one in the room and he does not seek to be “in the spotlight,” but he nonetheless positively influences the people around him. He is a driven worker, and he is adaptable to new or difficult situations.

He is quick to smile at, and chat with anyone, regardless of who the person is. He lends a hand in small ways whenever help is needed, and strives to set a good example wherever he goes.

A notable quote from Ezekiel’s essay was, “Many in society today have become used to describing natural disasters, climate change and social upheaval as crises – big issues which can result in citizens feeling hopelessness. The housing shortage in Southern Ontario is a wide-reaching reality and since shelter is a basic human right, then housing options need to be created without delay.”

Thank you to our panel of judges for their time and effort in determining the winners:

    Kathie Anderson, OMDREB Director

  • Carm Bozzo, Director of Philanthropy and Community Engagement at Halton Women’s Place, which is OMDREB’s President’s Charity for 2023.
  • Laura Pipes, OMDREB’s Manager of Operations and Administration
  • Yiin Shayegan, OMDREB Director and the Chair of OMDREB’s YPN Committee
  • We also wish to thank Mayor Rob Burton of Oakville and Mayor Gordon Krantz of Milton for joining us and celebrating our winners!

    To read the winning submissions, click on a corresponding name below:

    To our award winners, we wish you the best of luck in your future academic endeavours.

    Watch the virtual awards ceremony recap by clicking here.