CPAC Foundation Awards $14,000 to 8 Outstanding Students at 10th Education Day

March 4, TORONTO – CPAC Foundation successfully held its 10th CPAC Education Day last Saturday at Scarborough Civic Centre. With a keynote presentation, a scholarship presentation and winners’ panel, and three info-packed seminars, the event attracted more than three hundred parents and students from GTA’s immigrant community interested in gaining useful information about the Canadian education system and specific tips on education & careering planning, and the process of post-secondary school application. Eight outstanding students were recognized for their academic achievements & community contributions and received the 2018 CPAC Scholarships and Awards valued $14, 000 in total.

CPAC Education Day helps immigrant families to understand the Canadian education system and prepare their children for their academic and career future. The event provides parents with information that can help their children with making informed decisions on their educational future through expert advices of those in the field.

“Education is the key to a successful and prosperous future, and this is a tenet of the CPAC Foundation,” said Richard Lim, President of CPAC Foundation. “Choices made today often dictate the outcomes of tomorrow. We are proud that since its inception in 2008, Education Day has provided thousands of students and parents with practical and valuable information to help them make informed decisions. CPAC Foundation thanks all the donors and sponsors of this event, particularly the Presenting Sponsor TELUS.”

The theme of this year’s Education Day is: Discover Your Possibilities. Simu Liu, a Canadian Screen Award-nominated actor, writer and producer, best known for his role as Jung on the hit CBC comedy Kim’s Convenience, was this year’s keynote speaker. Due to an urgent schedule conflict, Liu spoke through a personal video message and answered questions through WeChat from San Francisco. Liu’s keynote presentation drew from his own experiences as an immigrant to Canada as a child and his relationship with his parents to illustrate the challenges he faced discovering his own possibilities and ultimate success. 

Another highlight at the 10th Education Day was CPAC Scholarship Award Presentation. Eight recipients who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrated social responsibility and community leadership shared their success stories with the audience.

The five CPAC Awards recipients include Jason Alaee, who runs a weekly Junior Youth Empowerment Group to mentor and aid local youth in making positive change and serves on the City of Hamilton’s Youth Steering Committee to help develop policies and strategies for City Council to better address the needs of youth in Hamilton; Jehwan (Dennis) Bae, a natural entrepreneur with a keen eye for the environment. He has established three startups which all focus on solving the problem of waste disposal, and led two nonprofit organizations which both promote youth environmental businesses; Christina He, who is the President of the student organization Change Impacting Toronto’s Youth (C.I.T.Y.) and has helped launch many projects supporting both local and global causes, including raising over $32,000 for a trip to Ecuador to help work on providing a clean water supply to a community in the Amazon; Alvin Li who started Project Backpacks for Kids, organized 15 events over two summers, reached out to more than 150 local companies, and eventually raised enough money to buy 100 stationery filled backpacks for refugee children; Hshmat Sahak, a hardworking and motivated full-mark student, the founder of the Best Buddies program at his school and president of a number of other volunteer organizations, who has made a difference to the lives of many students, inspired many kids along the journey, served as a role model to his school, and had a lasting, positive impact on his community.

2018 CPAC – TD Insurance Meloche Monnex Scholarship recipient is Jessica Miao,a third-year student at Ivey Business School of Western University. She founded Red Cross: Syria Relief Committee and received a $1,000 SpeakUp grant from the Ministry of Education of Ontario to take Syrian Refugee families on a tour of Toronto to help them adapt to the city, taught 150 students how to help local refugees and fundraised $2,000 towards the Syrian refugee crisis.

CPAC Trailblazer Scholarship recipient is Carmen Bezner Kerr,a first year University of Toronto student with a double major in Environmental Science and Diaspora and Transnational Studies, with a minor in Arabic. Carmen volunteered full-time for two months for Samos Volunteers, an organization providing psychosocial support to the residents of Samos Refugee Camp on the island of Samos, Greece and also spent six months helping manage a safe house for refugees seeking shelter in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pardis Balari is CPAC-Queen Financial Group Education Scholarship recipient. She currently a 4th year honours biochemistry student at McMaster University. She has been able to get involved with fundamental research in the infectious disease and antibiotic resistance field at the Institute for Infectious Diseases Research (IIDR) at McMaster, has been involved with Frontier College and supports children as a Leader-in-Training at the Dr. Jay Children’s Grief Centre.

In addition, three workshops were presented by experienced educators, teachers, parents, career counsellors, and senior professional practitioners in English and Mandarin. The topics and details are: Discover the Canadian School System: Public vs. Private, English vs. French Immersion, Gifted, TOPS, IB, AP or STEM, Discover Your Choices in Education: High School Course Selection and University Selection, and Discover Your Possibilities in A Profession: Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, or Marketer? 

About CPAC Foundation

The CPAC Foundation is a registered charity that raises funds in support of CPAC’s work. The CPAC Foundation also has its own education related initiatives and organizes activities that provide educational information to parents and students. It also provides scholarships and awards to secondary and post-secondary students who have demonstrated academic excellence and community leadership. Since 2000, the CPAC Foundation has given out more than 224 scholarships and awards with a total value of $278,000. It has also built two schools in poverty and disaster stricken areas in China.

The total value of scholarships and awards given out this year is $14,000. Below is the full list of recipients. For more information about the recipients, please refer to the attached summary of their biographies.

2018 CPAC Scholarship Recipient List

Awards Name School
CPAC Award Jason Alaee Ancaster High School
CPAC Award Jehwan(Dennis) Bae Bayview Secondary School
CPAC Award Ying-Chia (Christina) He John Polanyi Collegiate Institute
CPAC Award Alvin Li Pierre Elliott Trudeau High School
CPAC – CPA Ontario Award Hshmat Sahak Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute
Scholarships Name School
CPAC – TD Insurance Meloche Monnex Scholarship Jing Xuan(Jessica) Miao Western University – Ivey Business School
CPAC Trailblazer Scholarship Carmen Bezner Kerr University of Toronto, Trinity College
CPAC-Queen Financial Group Education Scholarship Pardis Balari McMaster University


Group photo of CPAC Scholarship recipients, CPAC Foundation Trustees, donors and sponsors.

The first row from left: Lai-King Hum, Principal/Senior Lawyer of HUM LAW FIRM, CPAC Foundation Trustee, Karen Webb, CPAC Foundation Trustee, Patricia Eddu, representative of donor, CPA Ontario, Richard Lim, CPAC Foundation President, Sarah Adnan, representative of TELUS, the Presenting Sponsor of CPAC Education Day 2019, Jorge Cardelus, representative of donor, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, Eric Xiao, CPAC President, Charles Jiang, representative of donor, Queen Financial Group, and Nancy Xiu, representative of CIBC, Networking Sponsor of CPAC Education Day 2019.

From the 6th of second row: 2018 CPAC Awards and Scholarship recipients: Carmen Bezner Kerr, Hshmat Sahak, Jing Xuan(Jessica) Miao, Jason Alaee, Alvin Li, Ying-Chia (Christina) He, Jehwan(Dennis) Bae, Pardis Balari’s mum

The plenary session of Education Day 2019 included the keynote speech, scholarship presentation and winners’ panel

CPAC Foundation President Richard Lim delivered a welcome speech at the opening ceremony

Richard Lim(left) presented an Appreciation plaque to Sarah Adnan, representative of TELUS, the Presenting Sponsor of CPAC Education Day 2019 (right)

The keynote speaker, Simu Liu, a Canadian Screen Award-nominated actor, writer and producer answered the audience questions by Skype

Karen Webb, CPAC Foundation Trustee(right) presented one of the CPAC Awards to Dennis Bae(left)

Zenobia Omarali, high school teacher and guidance counsellor at TDSB, Diana Schwartz, French Immersion program teacher at YRSB, Frank Wang, representative of the parent whose kids are studying in both public and private schools, Simon Ng, representative of the student who graduated from a private school presented a breakout session: Discover the Canadian School System: Public vs. Private, English vs. French Immersion

Limin Zheng, highs school teacher and career counsellor at TDSB presented a breakout session: Discover Your Choices in Education: High School Course Selection and University Selection

Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Dr. Latifa Yeung, Catalina Lopez, Multicultural Marketing Director at TELUS, Lai-King Hum, Principal/Senior Lawyer of HUM LAW FIRM and Charanjit Singh, Finance Director of Shared Services, CRH Canada presented a breakout session: Discover Your Possibilities in A Profession: Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant, or Marketer?