Student Leadership Award winners announced
By Atiba Nelson, Staff Reporter
Each year Douglas College honours several students with Student Leadership Awards; however, 2020 brought two large changes to the annual tradition. First, the event—which is usually a gala in the La Perla Ballroom—was postponed, and second, there was a new award created—the Up and Coming Leaders of the Year award.
The Student Leadership Awards selection committee chose the winners for this year’s honours. Award winners were recognized on the Douglas College website, and some created short homemade videos accepting their prize and acknowledging their nominators.
Three student awards were up for grabs this year: Living Big Student Leader of the Year Award of Distinction, Community Builder of the Year, and the Up and Coming Leaders of the Year. The newest award, the Up and Coming Leaders of the Year award, was given to three Douglas College students who “have shown a commitment to the Douglas College community in a volunteer or student assistant capacity,” as per the award announcement. The winners were Amrita Ramkumar, a Bachelor of Business Administration student; Angelo Toledo, an Associate of Arts student; and James Nguyen, a Computer and Information Systems student.
The winners of the Community Builder of the Year award were Paula Andrea Mendoza, a Bachelor of Applied Psychology student, and Ashley Smith, a Bachelor of Child and Youth Care student.
Smith’s recipient video was heartfelt as she thanked her nominators and detailed her commitment to an often-neglected group then revealed her passion for the work. “I’m super passionate about creating community and spaces for former youth in care, as I am one myself, and I know how difficult it can be to navigate post-secondary without the proper supports and services,” she said.
Recipients of the Living Big Student Leader of the Year Award of Distinction were Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching student John Paul Escala and Bachelor of Science in Nursing student Hayley Biller.
Escala’s nominator described him as “extraordinary in his involvement in campus activities and volunteering [and] making a difference in the community.” While Biller’s nominator stated that “[her] energy and enthusiasm to be involved in the broader nursing community is something her classmates admire and look up to her for.”
Biller, in her selection video, thanked her nominator for acknowledging her work in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Peer Mentorship Group, and reinforced the importance of peer mentorship and community in nursing.