Celebrating Student Success

“Success” is defined in many different ways. Celebrating Student Success highlights exemplary York Region District School Board students who represent over 125,000 students who achieve success each day. Traditionally, the selected students personify excellence through a combination of character, leadership and service to the school and/or community.


This event recognizes the success of our students as well as the contributions of teachers and staff to achieving student success. It also honours the role of parents and families in achieving student success while supporting the Ministry of Education’s “Education Week” initiative. ​​​


Celebrating Student Success Logo

The 2022 Cele​brating Student Success students are:

Name of StudentSchoolTown/City
Alicia NguyenSir William Mulock SSNewmarket
Allyson SurgenorDr. G.W. Williams SSAurora
Amelia YoungKeswick PSKeswick
Artin KhiabaniDr. G.W. Williams SSAurora
Carter GroppLakeside PSKeswick
Cole CameronMarkham DHSMarkham
Dominik KeramarisRick Hansen PSAurora
Ehsha VigMilliken Mills HSUnionville
Emily PeelarKing City SSKing City
Justin RussellTommy Douglas SSWoodbridge
Maheeshan SivanesanStouffville DSSStouffville
Noa HorrochL.H. Frechette PSThornhill
Priya BordoloiMaple HSMaple
Ryan HanMichael Cranny ESMaple
Sophia Mendiola-Flores Highgate PSMarkham
Sujan PatelLegacy PSMarkham



 Photo Alicia Nguyen

Alicia Nguyen

School: Sir William Mulock Secondary School

Alicia has been successful academically despite holding two part-time jobs to save money for university. She needed to change her status to remote learning to be able to make certain work shifts. Alicia pivoted to make changes in her choice of study as she worked to discover where her gift and talents lied. Resilience is marked by her consistent efforts to stay the course and making sure she completes all things necessary to obtain her goal to be accepted to university.


Photo Allyson Surgenor


Allyson Surgenor

School: Dr. G.W. Williams SS

In response to incidents of anti-Black racism, Allyson sought to make a change that would support the Black community. She led a team of students to develop a comprehensive website that aims to dismantle anti-Black racism. The site allows people to access relevant organizations involved in making change, find mental health supports to work through trauma and recognize Black excellence. She has also created partnerships to work with Black student groups in York Region. Allyson is a valued member of the school Well-being team. As part of this team she has led an interactive session for Grade 9s on podcasting. She also worked towards creating her own podcast focused on strategies to support mental health.


Photo Amelia Young

Amelia Young

School: Keswick Public School

Amelia models how music and other school subjects can build resilience and well-being. She volunteers to support students who struggle in class, regardless of their background and abilities. She contributes to equitable relationships among her peers, by modeling inclusive relationships with peers when playing outside and participating in school projects. To her peers in the junior division, Amelia models how one can gain knowledge, build skills, and develop attitudes to remove barriers that prevent the under-served and under-privileged learners from accessing education in the province of Ontario.


Photo Artin Khiabani

Artin Khiabani

School: Dr. G.W. Williams SS

Artin is a central figure of the school’s Mental Well-being committee by creating workshops for students on journaling, planning wellness days and using social media to promote activities that can support the well-being of others. Artin started the “Change by Coffee” group that focuses on working with Indigenous communities facing socioeconomic inequality and poverty. The group also raised $600 for COVID-19 and living essential care packages including perishable food items, menstrual pads, hand sanitizers, bottled water and self-care kits. Another activity Artin has pursued is serving as the director of marketing for Future Lawyers Conference (FLC). With aspirations of pursuing human rights law, he has created marketing and educational material for FLC chapters in Hong Kong, Singapore, India and the United States. Artin has also worked with newly immigrated youth by providing them with assistance in academics as well as sharing knowledge about life in Canada. He offers complimentary tutoring services for recently immigrated Iranian youth between the ages of 5 to 10. Through this program, Artin has been able to talk to more than 500 Iranian children and make their transition to Canadian life much easier.


Photo Carter Gropp

Carter Gropp

School: Lakeside Public School

After spending the last two and a half years in a Complex Needs Classroom and flourishing, Carter is "graduating" from Complex Needs back to the mainstream classroom in Term 2. A focus in the Complex Needs setting for Carter was mental health and he has become an integral part of creating a safe, healthy and inclusive learning environment. As he has worked through the program he has become a role model for newer students coming in. He is an eager participant in daily mental health activities, such as check in's, community circles and social emotional programming. He is working hard to find and honour his own social identity, and in doing so has become a leader in many situations - not only in the Complex Needs Classroom, but in his mainstream classroom too. He looks to build relationships with any and all students and staff and to include them in his day. He will go out of his way to say ‘hi’ to a younger student in the halls or befriend new student in his grade. His peers know Carter is a students they can trust and want to be around.


Photo Cole Cameron

Cole Cameron

School: Markham DHS

Cole is presently the president of the Peer Mentors at Markham District High School (MDHS). He has taken on this leadership role within the school to help build relationships within the student body during the difficult COVID Years. One major barrier was how to engage Grade 9 students online to provide them with an authentic MDHS experience. He worked tirelessly to finds ways to involve the students while working with his team to collaborate and ensure the safety of all students. Cole has always consulted with his staff advisors and fellow peer mentors to check perspectives and listen to many voices to enrich the program.


Photo Dominik Keramaris

Dominik Keramaris

School: Rick Hansen PS

Dominik has been a student of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Community class since Grade 2 and since then, he has shown incredible growth academically, socially and emotionally. He is very collaborative with peers - not just working with students, but contributing to the success of the group. Dominik understands equity as meaning that everyone gets what they need to be successful, not that everyone gets the same. Dominik makes excellence a habit. His achievements, together with his incredible growth, led to the decision to have him back to the regular classroom for his Grade 7 year.


Photo Ehsha Vg

Ehsha Vig

School: Milliken Mills High School

Ehsha is a champion of equity and inclusivity which is evident is in her passion for Indigenous Education and for developing sustainable, reciprocal relationships with Indigenous communities. In the summer of 2021, she began thinking about how to bring together an Indigenous school in northern Ontario and Milliken Mills High School (MMHS) to share their experiences with science. Ehsha embarked on a path of research and outreach which resulted in her securing a Rising Youth Grant that would cover the cost for the development of this “Meeting of the Minds” Initiative. The project has become a joint educational collaboration between the Indigenous students from John C. Yesno Education Centre in Eabametoong First Nations and MMHS. When Ehsha was in Grade 9, she organized a book drive after the library in Eabametoong First Nation burned down. By connecting with the Mayor of Markham, Ehsha was able to bring over 250 culturally appropriate and relevant books to Eabametoong. Ehsha has also hosted a Tamil appreciation event where she shared successes of Tamil students at MMHS, and supported mental health by creating wellness cards (personalized thank you cards) that she sent to front line workers and other members of the community who made contributions during the pandemic.


Photo Emily Peelar

Emily Peelar

School: King City SS

Emily is the President of the ESP (Empowered Student Partnerships) Team where she has been involved in many fundraisers, some of which include: Toonies for Turkeys a Thanksgiving fundraiser for the local food bank, Colour to Conquer which is a Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser, and a candy cane sales event which raised funds for Yellow Brick House. As the leader of the ESP Team, Emily has planned and implemented many community events, such as Socks for Souls, a campaign to donate new warm socks for homeless people in the Toronto area. Through Emily’s efforts, the campaign donated over 450 pairs of socks. Under Emily’s leadership, the ESP team collected nearly 300 articles of winter clothing for clients at Belinda’s Place. 

Photo Justin Russell

Justin Russell

School: Tommy Douglas Secondary School

In Grade 11, Justin decided that he wanted to make a pathway change and work towards a university destination. He always works consistently on his school work challenging himself to perform to the best of his ability. In addition to this, Justin has volunteered with Vaughan Basketball, occasionally works and has been an active and important contributor to the school’s Black Empowerment group. Justin has already received early acceptance to university. His commitment, perseverance and drive, along with his kind and caring demeanor, make him an excellent candidate for this award.


Photo Maheeshan Sivanesan

Maheeshan Sivanesan

School: Stouffville District Secondary School

In addition to achieving highly in his academics, Maheeshan is also engaged in extracurriculars. He is a part of the Equity Club, TSA, and Band. Maheeshan demonstrates a kind and caring attitude towards both staff and his peers. He is welcoming and inclusive to all. Although he is soft spoken, it is evident that his fellow peers respect and enjoy their interactions. Maheeshan is a young man that students look up to and admire. Despite his physical barriers he has succeeded in all aspects of his school life. His hard work and determination propel him forward.


Photo Noa Horroch

Noa Horroch

School: L.H. Frechette Public School

Throughout the course of this school year, Noa has organized, persevered and inspired those around her. She was instrumental in facilitating a school-based cross-country run. She has used her own time to create visuals for the gym entrance. She showed incredible positivity during the shut down of athletics, and has been an inspiring captain and leader on her team since athletics returned. Noa has volunteered during lunch recess and after school as a French tutor for new Grade 1 students. She took the initiative to ask about any struggling students so that she could offer her academic and social emotional support to make them feel welcome and succesful in their new school. Noa regularly checks in at the office to offer support in keeping the hallways and displays in and around LHF updated and welcoming for all stakeholders. Noa makes LHF a safe place to learn and to thrive, and is a model of excellence for the entire LHF community.


Photo Priya Bordoloi

Priya Bordoloi

School: Maple High School

Priya is an executive member of the Future Health Professionals (HOSA) club, where she eagerly participates in training club members for HOSA Canada leadership conferences. She also plans, not only training activities for her fellow club members but also volunteers her time to plan and create fun learning activities. One of the most notable activities was when she planned a medical history documentary viewing and discussion.. Finally, Priya was one of the first students who volunteered to participate in a fireside chat at Maple HS about dismantling anti-Black racism. Priya is a well-rounded student, who embodies the ideals of the Director’s Action Plan.


Photo Ryan Han

Ryan Han

School: Michael Cranny Elementary School

Ryan is on the school leadership team and organizes and facilitates school-wide monthly assemblies. He supported student mental health in this capacity by initiating a sing-a-long for the entire school (virtually) prior to the Winter break. He is part of the Reading Buddies program and is partnered with a Junior student from the school's community class. Ryan meets (virtually) with the student each week and they discuss basketball, the NBA and other interests the student has. This relationship has also spilled over into recess and other times when Ryan can help showcase to his peers what true inclusivity looks like. Ryan has also showcased strong collaborative skills by helping to support his classmates in their transitions planning. He helps others with their My Blue Print planner work and also provides his classmates with information about high school applications as Ryan has attended many school information nights (virtually).


Photo Sophia Mendiola Flores

Amelia Young

School: Keswick Public School

Amelia models how music and other school subjects can build resilience and well-being. She volunteers to support students who struggle in class, regardless of their background and abilities. She contributes to equitable relationships among her peers, by modeling inclusive relationships with peers when playing outside and participating in school projects. To her peers in the junior division, Amelia models how one can gain knowledge, build skills, and develop attitudes to remove barriers that prevent the under-served and under-privileged learners from accessing education in the province of Ontario.


Photo Sujan Patel

Sujan Patel

School: Legacy PS

Sujan fosters well-being in those around him. He exemplifies inclusive learning and playing environments where all peers feel they matter and belong. Sujan is the first to include a peer without a group and creates a welcoming environment where everyone's input counts. Sujan is a role model of equity and inclusivity and demonstrates developing knowledge, skills and attitudes that remove barriers in support of all learners. Whether in oral or written form, he is proud to share his identity, languages, family histories, lived experiences, strengths, needs and interests. Sujan has a profound effect on teacher well-being. For example, he immediately assists when there are tech issues in the classroom or online. Of particular support is his ability and willingness to troubleshoot. He also offers to go into breakout rooms to assist peers. As a Grade 5 Elementary Virtual School student last school year, he helped his teacher by producing tech videos for her to watch and learn.