Recipients of 2021 MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarships Selected

Niagara Falls, Ontario (September 27, 2021) – Eight Niagara Falls students will receive scholarships valued at up to $44,000 over four years to pursue their undergraduate degrees starting this fall. This is the fourth group to receive the MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarships, founded by John and Marcy McCall MacBain in 2017.

This year’s recipients are: Janvi Ganatra (A.N. Myer Secondary School), Ellie Harrison (A.N. Myer Secondary School), Reese Capitano (Saint Paul Catholic High School), Ajwa Nayab (Saint Paul Catholic High School), Romel Faife Cruz (Saint Michael’s Catholic High School), Ann Sony (Saint Michael’s Catholic High School), Madison Ruddell (Stamford Collegiate), Riya Patel (Westlane Secondary School). In addition, seven students who were finalists for the scholarship received an entrance award of $2,500 towards their university studies.

MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarship recipients are selected based on the demonstration of 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.

“I know firsthand the impact that a scholarship can have on a young person’s life,” said John McCall MacBain, O.C. “A scholarship enabled me to take the leap to go to McGill University in Montreal. That step set me on a path that, to this day, continues to challenge me and allow me to give back. With this scholarship, I hope to encourage a new generation in Niagara Falls to take meaningful risks, challenge themselves, and give back to their communities. Through our Foundation, Marcy and I are delighted to be able to provide this opportunity to help students reach their full potential.”

The selection process began at each of the high schools, in which committees nominated a total of 29 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 2021 MacBain Niagara Falls Scholarship Recipients:

Romel Faife Cruz | Saint Michael Catholic High School

Romel was Vice President of the Social Justice Association at Saint Michael’s Catholic High School. He served as Leader of Soft Tech for the Saint Michael’s Tech Crew, was a peer tutor, and chaperoned international students who visited his school’s campus. Romel is passionate about providing computer and graphic design services to organizations promoting social justice. He has supported several projects in this way, including the annual Saint Michael’s Pilgrimage, which raises funds to support international aid. During his high school career, he also worked as a Sales Associate at two local business. Romel is pursuing a Bachelor of Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto this fall.

Reese Capitano | Saint Paul Catholic High School

At Saint Paul Catholic High School, Reese volunteered as a tutor for students with special needs, and also served as a peer tutor at a local elementary school. Reese is a hockey player, and has volunteered to support younger girls in the sport. She also volunteered at a local animal sanctuary and with the Community Outreach Soup Kitchen. Seeing the impact of healthy meals on the community led to a passion for cooking and preparing food products for sale. She started her own home-based baking business in Grade 9 and has donated proceeds to causes that are important to her. She also competed at the Provincial Skills competition, in culinary arts. Reese is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Management at Ryerson University this fall.

Janvi Ganatra | A.N. Myer Secondary School

At A.N. Myer Secondary School, Janvi served as an Editor of the Yearbook Committee, a Myer Ambassador, as Visual Arts Representative on the Arts Council, and as a member of the Key Club. Outside of school, Janvi served as the Chair of the Lord Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, as the Vice President of Marketing on her team for the Junior Achievement Company Program, and as the Niagara Region Representative for the Ontario Youth Medical Society. She also tutored for a math program, assisting those that have learning disabilities, and worked part-time as a social media coordinator for a restaurant. Janvi is pursuing the Systems Design Engineering Program at the University of Waterloo this fall.

Ellie Harrison | A.N. Myer Secondary School

Serving on the Lord Mayor’s Youth Council, Ellie was an organizer of a Mental Health and Wellness conference that sought to raise mental health awareness among young people. She was also a clarinet player on the A.N. Myer Concert Band, and served on the School’s Arts Council. With no prior experience in coding, she competed in a Technovation Challenge, and came 2nd in her category. Ellie raised funds through the Red Roof Retreat Run, has spent over 10 years training as a ballet dancer with Ilona’s School of Dance, and also worked part time in retail during her high school career. Ellie is pursuing a Bachelor of Biology at the University of Waterloo this fall.

Ajwa Nayab | Saint Paul Catholic High School

Ajwa was Vice President of both the Rotary and Kiwanis Key Clubs at Saint Paul Catholic High School, and served on Student Council. She volunteered as a peer tutor, and completed a coop term working in an immigration office. Ajwa also volunteered as an intern at the mayor’s office, in a soup kitchen, and with Quick to Canada immigration services. She has also volunteered at the Niagara General Hospital, pursuing her passion for medicine and health sciences. Ajwa is pursuing a Bachelor of Medical Sciences and the Med Plus Program at Brock University this fall.

Riya Patel | Westlane Secondary School

Riya was President of the Westlane Student Council, and a Student Senator at the district level. She was a 2020 DECA Competition Finalist, and participated in Shad Canada and the Technovation Challenge for Girls Coding. Riya also served as the President of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, and as a Cultural Advocate at the Niagara Falls Gujarati Samaj. She worked for the Niagara Region Public Health authority, and has worked in rehabilitation and hospital settings, as a co-op student at Greater Niagara General Hospital and as a Recreational Therapist Student Assistant at the Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Centre. Riya is pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences at Queen’s University this fall.

Madison Ruddell | Stamford Collegiate

Madison was involved in the Stamford Link Crew and Arts Council. She helped to illustrate a children’s book for publication, and competed in the Skills Canada Virtual Competition in hairstyling, where she was awarded first place. Madison was a member of the Niagara Minor Girls Softball Association, and volunteered as a makeup artist for a fundraiser and Gala for Women’s Health. She also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by learning to produce 3D printed face shields, which she donated to frontline workers, and to vulnerable people in her network. Madison is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Brock University this fall.


Ann Sony | Saint Michael Catholic High School

Ann was Secretary of the Saint Michael’s Student Council, and Co-Treasurer of the MINGA club, as well as a community representative of the Student Senate. She competed in Mathletes, and was a Peer Tutor. In the community, Ann was Co-Chair of a Sub-Committee for the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee and also served on the Brock Lifespan Institute Youth Engagement Committee. She was a volunteer at the Niagara Falls History Museum, and at her local Parish. During her high school career, she worked part-time at the Niagara Falls Public Library as a Student Page. Ann is pursuing a Bachelor of Medical Sciences at Western University this fall.


Read about the 2021 McCall Huron County Scholarship Recipients here.