Education pays off through OTA scholarships as foundation grows

TORONTO — The Ontario Trucking Association Education Foundation handed out more than $30,000 in scholarships to college and university students last month, while first time awards and scholarships were also revealed.

Twenty-five Ontario-based students who are children of parents who work in the trucking industry each received funding to go towards their post-secondary education tuition fees and other academic expenses.

“Nearly 75 students applied this year for scholarships,” noted Betsy Sharples, executive director for the OTA Education Foundation. “As part of the foundation’s recent review and modest restructuring, this year’s applicants were asked to demonstrate a general understating of the importance of Ontario’s trucking industry to the province’s economy and our general standard of living.”

The Education Foundation is a charitable institution devoted to the furtherance of education for Ontario post-secondary students. Established in 1958, the Foundation was founded with the goal of providing assistance to Ontario students, regardless of their field of study, who have demonstrated a commitment to academic success, personal goals, and community service.

In addition to submitting an academic transcript, each student was asked to complete an essay that answered, “why is the trucking industry important to Ontario’s economy?” in order for his/her application to be considered for a scholarship.

“It was great to read the essays that were sent in as part of the students’ application packages,” said Scott Smith, chairman of the foundation. “Our goal of enlightening some Ontario post-secondary students about the trucking industry was clearly met with respect to this year’s applicants. In some cases, the students really did quite a bit of research to answer the question.”

Grant’s Transport made a presentation for its inaugural scholarship and the Erb Group of Companies added to the OTA Education Foundation with the announcement of a new scholarship.

The Erb Group of Companies – based in New Hamburg, Ont. – established a scholarship to recognize one first-year university or college student each year who exemplifies the greatest community spirit and/or charitable involvement.

“We feel privileged in many ways to be able to help educate an individual each year who is already an asset to his/her community,” explained Vernon Erb, president and chairman at the Erb Group. “We feel so strongly at Erb about the importance of community service, that it is included in our Mission Statement.”

Since Erb began his business in the 1950s, the Erb Group has enthusiastically contributed on every level to the progress and well-being of the charitable, sporting, religious and social organizations within the company’s local area.

“We believe that the student who provides service and satisfaction to his/her community will also enjoy success as a result of this commitment,” added Erb.

Grant’s Transport of New Liskeard, Ont. awarded its first academic scholarship under the OTA Education Foundation’s endowed scholarship program. The scholarship was awarded to Benjamin Hutten-Czapski, a first-year student enrolled in chemical engineering studies at the University of Ottawa.

The scholarship was announced last November, and is awarded each year to the top university-bound math student at Timiskaming District Secondary School, also located in New Liskeard.

“We see this as a great opportunity to assist one local student each year,” commented Gord Grant, president of Grant’s Transport. “Not only do we offer some financial assistance to deserving student, but this gives us a chance to be seen as a good corporate citizen in our local community.”

As a trained engineer, Grant has a great deal of respect for mathematics and those who excel in it. Not only is this year’s recipient accomplished in the mathematics component, he also had the highest overall average mark in his graduating class, having also been awarded the Governor General’s Medal for being top in all classes.

In addition to his academic accomplishments, Hutten-Czapski is involved with the Ottawa Chapter of the Children’s AIDS Health Program as the media representative, as well as several other volunteer positions. He has also co-founded his own organization called Spread TREES not AIDS, which has a dual focus on the environment and HIV/AIDS awareness.

All scholarship applications had to be sponsored by an Ontario trucking or allied product/service company that employs one of the student’s parents in order to be considered for an award.

In addition, one outstanding student entering university from high school was awarded the J. O. Goodman Award, and one outstanding student entering college from high school was awarded the C. V. Hoar Award.

The J. O. Goodman Award was presented last month to Melanie Cosgrove, a Mississauga-based student headed to McGill University in Montreal and enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program.

Cosgrove was chosen as the outstanding first-year university applicant by the OTA Education Foundation’s Selection Committee. J. O. Goodman applicants are assessed on their secondary school academic achievement, service to community and volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, as well as an essay on the trucking industry.

Cosgrove, a student graduating from Lorne Park Secondary School in Mississauga with an average mark of 94 %, achieved the highest marks in most, if not all, of her classes in each of her four years in high school, while participating in a diverse range of activities, such as leadership in her school’s fundraiser for the Children’s Wish Foundation.

The J. O. Goodman Scholarship Award winner is selected each year from all qualifying scholarship applications from students who are entering their first year post-secondary studies at a recognized university.

The J. O. Goodman award is named for J. O. Goodman, who for forty-four years was Senior Staff Executive of the OTA. His years of service to the development of the trucking industry in Ontario and to the trucking association resulted in his being awarded the Order of Canada in 1978 along with the nickname “Mr. Trucking”.

The C. V. Hoar Award was presented last month to Kristy MacDonald, a former student of St. John Catholic High School in Perth. MacDonald is now attending Seneca College in Markham, where she will continue the family tradition of working in the transportation industry when she embarks on a two-year program on Travel and Tourism Flight Service.

Both MacDonald’s father and grandfather have roots in trucking, with her father working as a driver for Cavalier Transportation Services in Bolton, Ont.

C.V. Hoar applicants are assessed on their secondary school academic achievement, service to community and volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, as well as an essay on the trucking industry.

The C. V. Hoar Award is named for Charles Hoar, who is one of the founding members of the OTA Education Foundation, and who led the foundation into its current form when he helped establish the J.O. Goodman Awards in 1979 following the retirement of Goodman as Senior Staff Executive of the Ontario Trucking Association.

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