Recipients of 2020 MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarships Selected

Niagara Falls, Ontario (September 2, 2020) – Six Niagara Falls students will receive scholarships valued at up to $32,000 over four years to pursue their undergraduate degrees starting this fall. This is the third group to receive the MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarships, founded by John and Marcy McCall MacBain in 2017.

The recipients are: Nadine Bongers (Saint Michael Catholic High School), Sofia Acevado (Saint Michael Catholic High School), Jessica Zheng (A.N. Myer Secondary School), Jordynn Bateman (A.N. Myer Secondary School), Olivia Sargeson (Stamford Collegiate), and Julia Savoie (Saint Paul Catholic High School). In addition, five students received one-time grants of $1,000 each towards their university studies.

MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarship recipients are selected based on the demonstration of strong potential for leadership, positive contributions to their school or broader communities and an overall commitment to excellence. The scholarship supports them over the course of their first undergraduate degree at any Canadian public university.

“Growing up in Niagara Falls, I was fortunate to have the support of my community, especially my teachers, who truly believed in me,” said John McCall MacBain, O.C. “They provided me with opportunities and the encouragement to go farther and pursue big goals. A scholarship that enabled me to attend university set me on a path that, to this day, continues to challenge me and allow me to give back and be involved in many different communities. Through our Foundation, Marcy and I are delighted to be able to provide some of those same opportunities and encouragement to promising students in our hometowns.”

The selection process began at each of the high schools, in which committees nominated a total of 27 students from those who had completed a comprehensive application for the scholarships. The students selected to move forward participated in extensive interviews which looked beyond academic achievement to examine activities and pursuits in the service of others and across a broad spectrum of leadership roles.

The 2020 MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarship Recipients:

Sofia Acevedo | Saint Michael Catholic High School

An active member of her school community, Sofia served as President of her school’s Eco Club, as a member of the EQAO Advisory Committee, and as President of the Student Council last year. Sofia petitioned the student body to host a pep rally for mental health awareness, aiming to make her school a more inclusive community. Sofia also served as Principal Liaison for the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, allowing her to advocate for students and plan events to encourage youth to become more involved in their community. Sofia was a guitarist with her school band, a flyer with her school’s cheerleading team, and has played on her school’s volleyball, basketball and rugby team. Thanks to her passion for guitar, Sofia won third place in the Niagara region at a guitar competition. She is planning to attend Trent University this fall to pursue studies in Chemistry and French.

Jordynn Bateman | A.N. Myer Secondary School

Jordynn is an avid athlete, and served as Team Captain of her cheerleading team, and as a member of her school’s Rugby sevens and Rugby 15’s teams. Jordynn has also served as Bulletin editor of her school’s Key club, as a member of the French club, and as a member of the Students at Myer Achieving Resiliency Together (SMART) team, where she helped to organize community-building activities for her school and attended conferences around Niagara on the topic of mental health after A.N. Myer was identified as a high-risk school for mental health and resiliency.  Wanting to learn more about French culture to expand on her French immersion education, Jordynn saved up to attend a month-long exchange in France while in high school, which she credits with improving her grasp of the culture and language, and increasing her life skills. She now tutors students in French. Jordynn is also an active member of her community, serving as Master Warrant Officer for the Army Cadets, a role in which she serves as an instructor to new cadets, as well as serving as a junior volunteer and tour guide for the Niagara Falls Military Museum, and as a volunteer at 396 Legion. Wanting to bring to light the homelessness crisis in Niagara Falls, Jordynn also organized a book sale for Project SHARE, her local food bank, raising funds and bringing exposure to the cause.  She is planning to attend the University of Ottawa this fall to pursue studies in Psychology.

Nadine Bongers | Saint Michael Catholic High School

Nadine was a strong member of her school community, leading the Student Council as President in the 11th grade, playing in the school house band as lead pianist, participating in mock trial and managing the social media for the social justice club. In the community, Nadine started a small sustainable fashion business and served on the Niagara Region Public Health’s Youth Advisory Committee for a two-year term. In the summer of 2019, Nadine lived in Moncton as part of the Explore program at l’Université de Moncton and as an employee of the University helping to coordinate the Place aux Compétences program. The program aims to immerse international students in Canadian and Acadian cultures prior to attending school in Canada for the first time. For the rest of the year, Nadine works as a cantor for her church and in seasonal customer service. She is planning to attend the University of Alberta this fall to pursue studies in Commerce.

Olivia Sargeson | Stamford Collegiate

Olivia was an engaged member of her school community. Over the course of her high school career, she served as a Link Crew Leader, mentoring grade 9 students entering high school to ensure they felt comfortable and welcomed, as a Student Council Representative, as a member of Stamford’s Mental Health and Wellness Committee, as a Scribe for grade 9 students EQAO practice, and as a Representative for Stamford Collegiate to the Student Senate of the DSBN. As Representative to the Student Senate, Olivia had a responsibility to her school and the broader community to uphold standards related to mental health and wellness, and to ensure the voices of her peers were heard. Olivia has also volunteered for the Salvation Army, MAD Kids, and with the NDP in their 2018 campaign. She has completed the National Lifesaving Society program and serves as a swim instructor. She is planning to attend Brock University this fall to pursue studies in Political Science.

Julia Savoie | Saint Paul Catholic High School

Julia is an avid athlete, and played on her school’s squash team, volleyball team, basketball team, as well as serving as captain of her varsity soccer team. She was an active member of her student body, and has served as her school’s Student Council President, Vice President, and Spirit Coordinator, as well as a member of Mathletes, and as a camp leader for Patriot Muskoka Camp, which welcomes grade eight students to SPCHS. In her community, Julia was a committee member on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, where she was part of a group who petitioned for the elimination of plastic straws to diminish waste in schools. Julia also dances competitively. She is planning to attend the University of Guelph this fall to pursue studies in Human Kinetics.

Jessica Zheng | A.N. Myer Secondary School

Recognizing the contributions her community has made to her development since childhood, Jessica has dedicated her volunteering time to the YMCA in the aquatics department, teaching visitors about Buddhism at the local temple, and serving on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee (MYAC), specifically the Giving Back sub-committee. Jessica is an avid athlete, and developed a keen interest in high school in the sport of curling, becoming an integral member of her school team, a competitive team, and local club leagues. As a DSBN Student Senate Trustee and member of MYAC, Jessica spearheaded mental health initiatives with MYAC that took place at several Niagara Falls high schools to support efforts to destigmatize mental health struggles. As a SHAD alumnus, Jessica now acts as an ambassador for the organization, encouraging fellow youth to apply to the summer-long STEAM-focused enrichment program. She is planning to attend the University of Waterloo this fall to pursue studies in Software Engineering.

Read about the 2020 McCall Huron County Scholarship Recipients here.