This is a transcription of SHAD Fellow & Dave Black Award recipient, Rudy Jarvis’
appearance on CBC’s Ontario Morning with Wei Chen on October 28.
Wei Chen: It was a big night for my next guest. Rudy Jarvis is a grade 11 student from Keswick who goes to Sacred Heart Catholic School in Newmarket. This past summer he was one of the students from across the country to take part in the SHAD summer enrichment program. It is for exceptional students. Rudy spent July working on a project with a team at a campus in Saskatchewan and last night, he was named as the recipient of a leadership award for the qualities and the promise he displayed during that time. For Rudy, the award is recognition that he has what it takes to overcome great personal challenges and adversity. And Rudy joins me on the phone now. Good morning!
Rudy Jarvis: Hi. Thank you Wei
WC: Hey. Congratulations!
RJ:Thank you very much.
WC: How was that last night to hear your name being called out as the recipient of this leadership award?
RJ:There’s just that moment where it’s kind of like this could be me, and then you hear your name and it’s like ‘wow, that is me’. And it’s just, it’s so mind-blowing because then you have all of these other people around you and it’s all just congratulations and support. And it’s such an amazing feeling.
WC:Yeah I have to tell listeners what some people said: He’s a great leader. An exceptional follower. He’s always the first to participate in an activity giving 100% and encouraging others to follow suit. He made a great effort to include everyone and ensure that everyone’s voice was heard. And his efforts are recognized by all of the SHADs. That is really incredible. What was your experience like as part of the SHAD program?
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Listen to audio version of Rudy's Q&A
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(fast-forward to 31:50)
RJ: It’s indescribable. It’s just – it was such an amazing program and it taught me so much. And honestly, it’s changed my life.
WC:That’s saying something. How so?
RJ: Well, it helped me to develop those leadership skills and it introduced me to some of my best friends now all across the country.
WC: There’s something else that someone said. He has emotional intelligence that surpasses my own. You’re mature for your age Rudy, I am told. And I wonder if it’s because you grew old before your time because you had to. I understand that you lost both your parents when you were young.
RJ:Yeah, my mother passed away when I was six and just two years ago my father passed away.
WC:So you’ve been living with your grandma.
RJ: Yeah I’ve been living with my grandmother since and I guess it was important for me to be there for the other people that were affected as well. And so I guess I did have to grow a little bit older a little bit faster.
WC: When your dad died you still had you know, all your school work to focus on, but that remained very important to you. How come?
RJ: It remained very important because my dad didn’t necessarily lead the best life. He had a rough childhood and it was difficult for him and he ended up dropping out of high school. And that was what he told me one of his biggest mistakes and so I actually had to promise him that I would stay in high school and go to university and do my best. And so I think that’s really what drove me to continue doing what I do.
WC: You promised your dad.
WC: What has your grandmother’s influence been like on you?
RJ: My grandmother’s influence has been so so so inspirational. She grew up with five children, four of which had a disease called cystic fibrosis and it’s terrible. It causes lung problems, digestion problems, just, it’s a full body thing. And it’s terrible. Extremely life threatening. And so, her ability to push through that, with four kids who have that, it’s just been so inspiring to me. And then, to take me in as well, and help me, and give me a place to live, and feed me, it’s just been so amazing to be able to live with her and see her every day and understand that struggle.
WC:She sounds like an incredible role model.
WC: What do you want to do in the future, Rudy?
RJ:In the future, I am looking to become an engineer. I want to go Waterloo University for Nano engineering. And it’s a really really interesting program. It’s basically building things on a really small scale. It’s big, upcoming, there’s going to be a ton of things that it can be applied to so I’m excited to hopefully go there.
WC: We’re excited for you too. You know sometimes young people get this bad rap, you know, that they’re slackers, they’re really, you know, not interested in the world. How would you respond to people who think that?
RJ:I think that notion can apply in some cases, of course there are the people in every generation that aren’t necessarily interested, they don’t want to do this or do that, but then, they also need to pay attention to the other side of things. The fact that there are people out there that are up and coming that people have started businesses before they’re 19. That there’s so many people who want to do great things and I think that’s what the SHAD program is all about. And one point I want to stress about that is that it’s not just for the rich people in the big cities. Anybody can go there and I think that’s one of the big things that people don’t really understand is that there’s so many bursaries for people so that can cover the cost and it lets those people in the smaller areas who may not get the recognition or the opportunities that everybody else gets, it will let them get that. And I think that’s the thing that a lot of people miss.
WC: We will be sure to share that with our listeners as well. Rudy thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us and you’ll be one we’ll be watching in the future. Thank you.
RJ: Thank you very much for having me.
WC: Rudy Jarvis is a grade 11 student from Keswick. He goes to Sacred Heart Catholic School in Newmarket. He was at the SHAD awards ceremony last night where he was presented with an award for outstanding leadership. The SHAD program is a great opportunity available to students all over the country. It does come at a cost. Close to forty-five hundred dollars. But before you think that that rules you out, as Rudy said, there are bursaries and financial help. Rudy benefited from it and it covered the full amount and got the best from the program. We’re going to put a link to the SHAD site so that if you’re interested you know, your school can find out more, your principal can find out more and spread the word. So go to facebook.com/ontariomorning