April 12, 2021 (Cornwall, ON) – Affaan Ali, a dedicated Grade 12 student at St. Lawrence Secondary School (SLSS), is a top student, active in his community, and his commitment to his studies and personal endevours are getting noticed.
Earlier last month, Affaan was thrilled to learn that he was selected from thousands of students across the country to receive the Schulich Leader Scholarship, the most coveted science scholarship in Canada.
“We are proud to celebrate 10 years of Schulich Leader Scholarships, the premiere STEM scholarship program in Canada and the world. This group of 100 outstanding students will represent the best and brightest Canada has to offer and will make great contributions to society, both on a national and global scale. With their university expenses covered, they can focus their time on their studies, research projects, extracurriculars, and entrepreneurial ventures. They are the next generation of entrepreneurial-minded, technology innovators,” says program founder Seymour Schulich.
The $80,000 scholarship will be put towards his schooling expenses at the University of Ottawa, where he recently accepted an offer to study Mathematics and Economics.
“I have grown fond of Ottawa from my frequent visits there over my high school career,” says Affaan. “I am ecstatic to start my future in the city.”
Affaan has been an honour roll student since Grade 9, always carrying an average in the high 90s. With a current class average of 98.5%, it’s clear that Affaan works hard in his studies to be awarded with such a prestigious grant.
“My parents are my motivators; they have sacrificed a lot for me, and I aspire to make them proud,” explains Affaan. “I also wish to be a role model for my little brother.”
Affaan’s love and skills in math have earned him successes outside the classroom as well. He has competed in the Waterloo Math Contest each year of his high school career, scoring in the top 25% twice and was the school champion each time, and he volunteers his time at a math tutoring center.
In wanting to explore the entrepreneurial world, in June of 2019 Affaan applied for and was chosen by the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre to receive a $3,000 grant to start his own business. Combining his math skills and his passion to share his knowledge with others, Affaan opened Essential Skills — a tutoring service.
He was able to operate his tutoring business for about a year before having to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions. Although the venture was short-lived, Affaan explains that owning his own business was a transformative experience and it opened his mind to a future career as an entrepreneur.
It was this initiative that prompted SLSS Student Success Teacher Jamie Carr to nominate Affaan for the Schulich Leader Scholarship. Each high school in Canada can nominate one entrepreneurial-minded high school graduate enrolling in a Science, Technology, Engineering or Math program at partner universities.
Apart from his interest in math, Affaan enjoys playing the clarinet, and has been successful in that as well. He was part of the SLSS school band in 2019, and the group took home gold at the Cornwall Kinsmen Music Festival. As well, Affaan placed silver in his solo performance.
Currently, the keen Grade 12 student is completing a co-operative education credit researching at the Cornwall River Institute and has been a part of the SLSS Student Council since Grade 10.
“We are so proud of Affaan here at St. Lawrence Secondary School,” says Principal Kelty Grant. “He’s such a well-rounded, sincere, kind student. He is not only strong academically, but is also very involved in school life, and is always willing to help his peers. We will miss Affaan next year, but we can’t wait to follow his successes.”