Though last alphabetically, Emily came first academically and achieved the highest graduating average in the school’s history, a superlative 97.0%! Emily was chosen as a prefect, and she distinguished herself at Newton’s Grove by being the top student in her grade for every year that she was with us. Her dedication to her studies was incomparable, and she was motivated by a genuine curiosity. Her diverse range of interests included math, the sciences, the arts and the humanities, as well as the Toronto Blue Jays. Her enthusiasm was infectious, and she brought many questions and sophisticated answers to all of her classes. At commencement, Emily received the Governor General’s Award, given to the top graduating student, as well as the Michele Temple award, given to a student who makes outstanding contributions to all aspects of the school: academically, athletically and artistically. Emily was also the top performer in this year’s Optimist Public Speaking Contest, and she is a past scholarship winner in the regional competition.
Emily received over $40,000 in scholarship offers, and she could have chosen a program in any field she wished. She has decided to follow her passion and study Political Science at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, with an $8,000 scholarship. Victoria is one of the oldest university programs in Canada, and Emily will be following in the footsteps of such famous alumni as Lester B. Pearson, Northrop Frye, Margaret Atwood, and Donald Sutherland. We wish her continued success, and we are certain that she will make her mark in the political arena some day soon.
Laura capped off a stellar year by graduating with an overall average of 96.5%, the second highest average in her class. Laura was the head of the Athletic Council, a key player on the volleyball and ball hockey teams, and an emcee at this year’s Athletic Banquet. She was also the First Prize winner in the Alpha Short Story Contest, winning publication of her story in the Claremont Review, a Canadian journal for creative writing. Laura demonstrated a real flair for writing, as she showed in her impressive speech for the Optimist Public Speaking Contest, which earned her a chance to represent the school at the District Finals. It was no surprise that Laura was one of the first prefects chosen by the senior staff this year.
Laura was accepted into every program she applied to, with scholarships totaling $59,000. She has chosen to pursue a career in commerce, and has accepted a placement at the Schulich School of Business where she will be studying Business Administration. Laura’s dream of becoming a successful business woman will undoubtedly come true, and her entrepreneurial spirit, good will, and determination will get her there.
Sam is a multi-talented individual who has brought showmanship, panache and an engaging personality to his years at Newton’s Grove, all the while maintaining a first-class academic record. His graduating average is an impressive 93.67%, and it is no surprise that Sam was also chosen as a prefect. Sam made an impression on all of us in his many performances at Arts and Music Night, playing the classical guitar, soloing on the saxophone, and enlivening the Jazz Band with his singing. Similarly, he was a stand-out lead in the school productions of Across the Universe and Grease, bringing the respective characters of Jude and Danny to life. Sam was given the Special Dramatic Performance Award at graduation, an award given out only in those years in which a student has made exceptional contributions to the performing arts.
Sam has decided to keep his musical talent as an avocation and has chosen to pursue an academic career in the humanities. He received several scholarship offers, and decided on acceptance to the History and Political Science program at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus. No doubt Sam will bring his confidence and academic discipline to his chosen field, and politics seems a natural fit for his engaging personality.
Natasha has been with us since junior kindergarten, and her effervescent and bouncy personality has made her stand out in all of her years with us. A top student who graduated with an average of 93.33%, Natasha has contributed much to the school community. She has played a lead in our school dramatic presentations going back to her junior years. As an intermediate, she beat out seniors for the lead in Alice. Since then, she has starred in The Princess Bride, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Across the Universe and Grease. Her acting talents have made her a past Dramatic Arts Award winner, and this year she was awarded the Graydon Foster Scholarship Award. This award acknowledged her contributions to all the performing arts, including her solo singing, dancing, and flute playing that were highlights of our annual Arts and Music Night. Outside of the spotlight, Natasha has been a prefect and an integral part of our charitable organization, WINGS. Natasha was the head of this organization for the past year, and spearheaded fund-raising initiatives for women’s shelters, relief in Syria, the I Am a Girl campaign, the Michele Temple Cancer Fund, and schools in Ghana. She is certainly a young woman who has made a real difference in our community.
Natasha has always had a natural bent towards the humanities and social sciences, and so she has decided to further her studies in this area. She was accepted to every school she applied to, with thousands of dollars in scholarship offers. She has decided to enroll in the Honours Bachelor of Arts program at Queens University, with a $2000 scholarship. No doubt she will take advantage of opportunities there to pursue her passions for theatre and music, as well as become involved in campus charities and politics. We certainly wish her well as she moves beyond Newton’s Grove, and it is going to be hard to imagine the school without her.
In a group of many outsized personalities, Youssef is remarkable in that he has garnered so much positive attention from his peers and his teachers, all the while remaining in the background and never calling attention to himself. His classmates overwhelmingly chose him as their class valedictorian, and it was a very fitting and deserved honour. Youssef was a dedicated student with a quiet determination that allowed him to conquer the toughest problems in calculus, physics and chemistry. He was generous with his time, and always supported his classmates if they needed help or a little guidance. He was the individual who always volunteered to do the unpopular tasks, and so he was often working behind the scenes in the music program, in student council, and anywhere he was needed. His generous spirit earned him the role of prefect, and he won both the Senor Music Award and the Eva Duncan Citizenship Award. The criteria for this award is someone who is “unselfish, helpful and reliable, and usually the first to volunteer for jobs that are unglamorous, under-acknowledged and essential.” This description fits Youssef completely.
While many students struggle with their choice of program, Youssef always had a clear vision of what he intended to do. He knew that engineering was his vocation, and he was accepted in every engineering program he applied to. With a graduating average of 91.17%, Yousef received scholarship offers of over $12,000. He has chosen to attend the McMaster School of Engineering with a $1000 scholarship. In his valedictorian address, Youssef described how a simple piece of paper can, through the right guidance and steps, become something beautiful. This metaphor of the origami crane described the transformation of his class over the years. Youssef will undoubtedly continue to help guide and transform all those fortunate enough to work with him.
Gurgas is the youngest member of the Bassi family to go through Newton’s Grove, and his older siblings have all distinguished themselves as alumni, both at university and beyond. Gurgas, therefore, has had some tough acts to follow and yet he has responded with an impressive year, graduating with honours. Though quite intelligent and perceptive, Gurgas has always been an individual with a mischievous sense of humour. However, the last few years have revealed his serious and determined nature. He has thrown himself into his studies of math and sciences, earning top marks in biology and chemistry. He also was our highest scoring team member in the University of Toronto National Biology Competition, earning a Biology Award at graduation. Gurgas finished the year with an average of 89.17%, an impressive capstone to a distinguished career at Newton’s Grove.
Over the years, we have had many students move on to study life and health sciences. Gurgas is very much in that tradition. He has set his sights on a future in medicine, and he has had only one school in mind, McMaster University in Hamilton. Gurgas was accepted in both the Bachelors of Technology program at McMaster, with a $2000 scholarship, and Life Sciences. He has chosen Life Sciences, with a $1000 scholarship. With his innate intelligence and good study habits, we are confident that Gurgas will excel in this program, and one day we will be addressing him as Dr. Bassi!
One of world’s most prestigious halls was visited by our talented musicians in the Intermediate and Junior divisions. The 2016 Middle School Carnegie Honour Performance Series consisted of a group of diligent, hardworking and passionate young musicians who were given the opportunity to perform on the Carnegie Hall stage. We were very proud to have four of our young musicians representing Newton’s Grove School in the Carnegie Hall 2016 Middle School Honour Performance Series program. They were Grade 6 finalist, Michael Husu, Grade 7 finalists, Justin Yeung and Manvir Bhangu and, Grade 8 finalist, Aryan Puri. The Middle School Honours Junior Band comprised of one hundred and six young musicians from 48 States and Canada. They worked tirelessly for three days to put together an unforgettable performance. Having the chance to meet new musicians from all over the US and to work with a special guest conductor had been a remarkable experience for our four finalists. Well done to our bright musicians!
Happy Birthday Canada!
Newton's Grove School celebrated Canada Day with the City of Mississauga this weekend. Not only were we able to celebrate Canada and all of the wonders of our country, but we also had the opportunity to present our student's excellence in the arts to the city.
Our students performed our nation's anthem as well as a fantastic jazz piece. Congratulations, on an wonderful performance, you awed the City of Mississauga with your talents.