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Richmond student receives $70K leadership scholarship

Sara Kanafani is the founder and president of Steveston-London's Muslim Students Association.
Steveston-London secondary's Sara Kanafani is one of the 2024 TD Scholarships for Community Leadership recipients.

A Richmond student's leadership in the community has earned her a giant scholarship to get her through post-secondary.

Steveston-London secondary's Sara Kanafani is one of 20 students across Canada to receive a $70,000 scholarship from TD Scholarships for Community Leadership program.

Recipients are recognized for their outstanding leadership achievements and contributions to help with change and promote change in their communities.

The scholarship is awarded to students in Grade 12, which includes $10,000 for tuition and $7,500 for living expenses per year for a maximum of four years.

"I was beyond shock and I couldn't wrap my head around (it) for at least like 30 days after I'd been notified," said Kanafani.

The Richmond student described feeling "immensely grateful" with moments of "imposter syndrome kicking in a couple of times."

Kanafani told the Richmond News the scholarship has opened up a pathway for her to continue her efforts within the community without stressing about funding for her education.

Kanafani is the founder and president of her school's Muslim Students Association and started the BC Muslim Association's inaugural youth committee. 

The committee supports fellow teenagers in cultivating leadership skills and self-awareness and oversees a team of 70 volunteers in various activities.

"I'm incredibly grateful for the fact that I'll still be able to continue whatever plans I had for the clubs that I opened up in my school," she said, adding most students put their initiatives aside to focus on jobs to pay for their education.

"This scholarship means that I can continue with my passions stress-free."

Kanafani has also participated in the City of Richmond's youth strategy street team, coached basketball and has worked with classmates on campaigns advocating for clean water on Indigenous reserves.

Kanafani is heading to UBC Sauder School of Business but has yet to decide what she will specialize in.

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