An exceptional month begins for 701 of Canada’s future leaders at prestigious summer program SHAD
July 4, 2016
Debbie Dada is typical of SHAD students. She’s driven, a leader in her community and an exceptional student to boot with hopes to change the world. And Dada is well on her way.
The Grade 11 student from Weston Collegiate Institute in Toronto is one of 701 of the top high school students from across Canada participating in SHAD at 12 university campuses from coast to coast. The students from Alberta; British Columbia; Doha, Qatar; Manitoba; Massachusetts, USA; New Brunswick; Newfoundland & Labrador; North West Territories; Nova Scotia; Nunavut; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Strasbourg, France; Vermont, USA; and Yukon arrived at their different campuses yesterday.
Dada who came to Canada with her parents from Nigeria when she was a couple of months old, says one of her passions and long term goals is to help marginalized youth reach their potential.
“Many students are afraid that even if they try their best, they will still be unsuccessful so they don't try at all,” she says.
She adds, “They sometimes go through life feeling defeated when really the world is just waiting for them to shine.”
She and a colleague are in the process of creating a grassroots organization called Find Your Path, which aims to close the gaps in student achievement by creating programs and opportunities for marginalized youth. This year, they are awarding scholarships for graduating high school students who are the first in their families to pursue post-secondary education.
Dada, and the other students, competed for a coveted position at SHAD, the prestigious national program which has served as an incubator for Canada’s future leaders by unleashing their innovative and entrepreneurial potential while still in high school.
At SHAD, which was founded in 1980, students from grades 10 to 12 are immersed in an intense one month enrichment program in July focused on STEAM: science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The students interact directly with renowned university faculty and visionary corporate leaders who challenge them to look at some of society’s biggest problems and to start thinking about how to tackle them.
When the program ends on July 29, the Fellows become part of an important network of 15,000 alumni including 30 Rhodes Scholars and leaders in many fields.
“SHAD is a very unique program because it gathers many high achieving young people together and allows us to grow together and learn from one another, which will undoubtedly help us be successful in our individual goals,” Dada, who will be participating at SHAD Lakehead in Thunder Bay, says.
With Canada now focused more and more on youth innovation and entrepreneurship to help fuel the new economy and solve some of the many global issues, the SHAD network is where it all begins.
“I think SHAD is one of Canada’s best kept secrets,” says Michele Romanow, a SHAD Fellow in 2003 who now stars on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and is a Director on SHAD’s Board. “I don’t believe I would be an entrepreneur (today) if I didn’t go to SHAD.”
“It is an honour to be heading up an organization that is doing such important work for Canada,” says Tim Jackson, SHAD’s recently-appointed President and Chief Executive Officer.
“By exposing high achieving high school students to great ideas from leading faculty and some of the world’s biggest challenges, students like Debbie are inspired by the SHAD network to start making an impact now,” Jackson adds.
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SHAD (www.shad.ca) is a Canadian charitable non-profit organization that helps exceptional high school students recognize and envision their full potential as tomorrow’s leaders and change makers. Each year, the SHAD program provides the opportunity for about 700 students from across Canada and internationally to attend a transformational month-long summer program at one of 12 Canadian host universities focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math). There are currently more than 14,800 SHAD alumni all sharing the Uncommon Purpose of the SHAD experience and able to leverage their SHAD network for life. The SHAD 2016 program will take place from July 3 to 29. Applications for the summer of 2017 will be available in the fall at www.shad.ca
For more information or to set up an interview with a student in your area, please contact: