Meet our 2021 scholarship recipients
The Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship Program recognizes and supports excellence in teacher education, through annual scholarships to assist in the education of future teachers.
Mikayla Bornais, Anthonia Ikemeh, Joshua Mogyoros and Rachel Stymiest
Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education Recipient:
Mikayla Bornais, teacher candidate in the concurrent education program at the University of Windsor.
Engaged, positive, highly motivated, tenacious, Mikayla Bornais is known as being a standup person with a genuine interest in the world. Deeply passionate about teaching youth, she is described as having a wonderful character and approaches tasks with strong analytical skills.
Throughout her studies, Bornais worked as a swim instructor where she taught children of all ages, including some with disabilities. She did supply teaching in Ontario's English and French boards and was involved in an after-school program at École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Marguerite-d'Youville in Tecumseh, Ont., where she assisted children with school work.
Bornais also volunteered in the program Let's Talk Science at the University of Windsor, where she presented engaging scientific activities to students in the community. Her research work was published in the journal Animal Behaviour, and she was the recipient of university awards for her outstanding research skills.
Bornais wants to empower students who face challenges, whether these be socio-economic, discrimination due to race, gender, disability or language.
Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship – Primary/ Junior or Junior/Intermediate Recipient:
Anthonia Ikemeh, teacher candidate in the consecutive education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (OISE/UT).
As an early childhood educator (ECE), Anthonia Ikemeh already has the qualities she needs for her next move in teaching: strong communication and problem-solving skills, active listening, accountability and a sense of humour. Those around her say that she is compassionate, and that students' well-being is at the core of her learning and research.
Ikemeh worked for six years as an ECE with the Toronto Catholic District School Board while taking evening classes to complete her undergraduate degree in child development. In that role, she was described as constantly looking for ways to challenge students and help them grow through play-based learning, while supporting them as they develop socially, emotionally and cognitively.
Ikemeh created lesson plans that connected students' learning to real-world issues. For example, she used the book The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson to connect it to the clean water crisis impacting Indigenous communities in Canada. She also helped create a monthly program called Parents at Play — featured in the Toronto Star — where parents came to the classroom to play and learn with their children.
The teacher candidate is looking forward to continuing her engagement in projects that promote diversity and equity of all people, especially marginalized groups such as Black, Indigenous and Peoples of Color (BIPOC).
Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship – Intermediate/Senior Recipient:
Joshua Mogyoros, teacher candidate in the consecutive education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto (OISE/UT).
Joshua Mogyoros was doing his graduate studies in physics at the University of Guelph when he realized he was more interested in being a teaching assistant than researching his thesis. He followed a wandering career path that led him to working as a design lab technologist at a Toronto independent school and inspired him to dedicate his career to teaching.
For this physics researcher, being comfortable with making mistakes is part of the learning process — and speaking openly about it is part of his teaching philosophy. He enjoys teaching students how to develop critical reasoning skills by teaching them how to think for themselves.
Mogyoros is described as having an impressive combination of talents: bright, motivated, logical, and is a highly skilled communicator who brings creativity and enthusiasm to his interactions with students.
Brian P. McGowan Scholarship for Resilience Recipient:
Rachel Stymiest, teacher candidate in the consecutive education program at Queen's University.
One thing is clear about Rachel Stymiest: as a BIPOC female who has overcome significant challenges throughout her life, she has found a passion for education and mental health that will serve her well in her teaching career. She has demonstrated resiliency through her hard work, focus and tact, all of which have pushed her to always strive for a better outcome.
During her undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo, Stymiest spent a semester interning at an elementary school where she made a special connection with the diverse student population. Stymiest holds an Honours bachelor of arts in peace and conflict studies with minors in psychology and legal studies. Her knowledge in topic areas such as conflict resolution, cross-cultural practices, mediation, immigration and refugee status, psychology, and legal studies allows her to put theory into practice when she teaches students from a wide range of backgrounds.
Her natural ability to connect and empathize with students is clear in the genuine connections she builds along with her quiet authority. Stymiest knows the importance of caring relationships from her first-hand experiences facing adversity and being aware of the lack of BIPOC representation in teachers, both when she was in school and now as a teacher candidate.
Noting the deeper connection she made with students who related to her racial identity or were ecstatic to see she wore her hair in box braids, a protective hairstyle among the Black community, Stymiest saw the critical importance of increasing BIPOC representation in education.
Stymiest knows that by becoming a teacher, she will be able to support and inspire children's resiliency, advocacy and compassion in a variety of capacities. She hopes to use her life experience, social position, academic background and calming demeanour to help her students develop their ability to respond positively to challenges, find their voices, and pass on their learning to others in need as she strives to model herself.
Congratulations to these impressive, dedicated and enthusiastic future teachers!