Got grit, will graduate

Some of Richmond’s best and brightest students were recognized Thursday for their dedication to school while at the same time overcoming adversity.

Richmond Youth Service Agency (RYSA) hosted its 14th annual Stay-in-School Awards event, handing out 38 certificates of recognition to students who have faced multiple barriers on their studying.

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“It means a lot that they get recognition and support for their effort,” said RYSA event organizer Daniel Sun. 

“A lot of kids say something on the stage; they say they have struggled before but because of support from the school and friends, they’re doing better.”

RYSA helps connect kids with resources in the community, such as counsellors, tutors or social and sports groups.

“As long as they have the right people to support them, they can stay in school,” said Sun,

Joining the kids on Thursday was Coun. Linda McPhail, a former school trustee who’s familiar with how important it is for students to have the right support network. 

“I’m proud to be here today to recognize students who have demonstrated dedication and courage in completing their educational goals despite facing adversity,” said McPhail.

“Many of us have been through difficult times and it is how we choose to deal with hardships in life that defines us.” Sun said next year should be a bigger ceremony thanks to increased financial support from Children’s Aid Foundation. Also assisting in the ceremony was Scotia Capital, as each student received a $50 to $300 bursary.

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