It was some fantastic news for a local teen, as Obi Aghamelu, a grade 11 student at Central Collegiate, found out this week that his application to the SHAD Network had earned him a spot into the summer enrichment program.
Aghamelu learned about the program through a friend who attended last year and decided to apply. He explained that there were a lot of considerations that applicants have to include, and although doing well at school is one, it is not everything. You have to show that you are well rounded, and contribute back to your community in various ways.
He explained, "You can get good grades, but it is also about your extra-curricular work like helping out on teams or being on committees and just doing your part."
Aghamelu is a member of the school band, the SADD (Students Against Drunk Driving/Destructive Decisions) group, and the Mathletes club at Central, attends his church's youth ministry, and prior to arriving in Canada from Ireland a few years ago, he was a member of the youth council for the town he lived in.
Aghamelu has achieved high 90s in his math and science classes and he is looking forward to taking his love of the subjects to learn more about how he can develop further in those fields in order to give back and contribute to a larger picture.
He will leave for Carlton University (in Ontario) on July 2 where he will meet up with 800 other like-minded students from across Canada who were also selected to attend this year, until his return on July 28.
When most students might fret about giving up half their summer, Aghamelu is looking forward to it and said, "Yeah, it's a month off but it is going to be a month full of fun. It's going to be really beneficial to me and my future and it is giving me an idea of what I enjoy. It's going to be an environment where I can do stuff that I love to do."
The Network is described as Canada's "top incubators for youth innovation and entrepreurship" that has seen 16,000 students come through since its inception in 1980. Alumni include Michele Romanow of CBC's Dragons' Den.