2017 Spirit Award Recipients, Academic Perseverance

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Recipient Academic Perseverance: Ryan Coyte, All Saints Catholic High School

Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at a young age. At his five-year checkup, instead of receiving a much anticipated “All Clear”, he received the devastating news that the leukemia had returned. During a follow-up appointment, after a successful bone marrow transplant, it was discovered that the he had relapsed for a third time. His doctor advised his family that chemotherapy and radiation were not options. Ryan’s only hope of recovery was to participate in CAR-T gene therapy, an experimental treatment. Ryan’s relapses impacted many of his personal choices and goals, however, he overcame this adversity through community involvement. He has served as a keynote speaker for the school’s Terry Fox assembly, as a counselor and mentor at Camp Oochigeas, a camp for childhood cancer survivors, and as team manager for the varsity basketball team. Ryan has faced his adversity with a positive attitude. He is truly an inspiration to both the staff and the students of All Saints Catholic High School.

Ryan Coyte

Quote: “I have worked hard to fulfill my potential.  I can’t tell you how much I missed going to school.”

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Recipient Academic Perseverance: Rebecca Kahindo, Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School

Rebecca is a born giver who has made great contributions to her school and community. She was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and grew up in Uganda. Despite living through times of hunger and the hardships of living in a refugee camp, enduring the loss of a sister to malaria (which she herself survived) and experiencing the ups and downs of being a newcomer to Canada, her outlook is hopeful and focused on moving forward with gratitude. She bears the mark of service and leadership through her participation and organization skills. Rebecca belongs to Global Outreach, raises funds for Planting Seeds in Guatemala, and has helped raise awareness in the school community with regards to social justice issues such as poverty, hunger and access to clean water. She volunteers daily with Lester B. Pearson’s breakfast club, visits Alzheimer’s patients on a monthly basis, and has started a charity to help young people in the Congo attend school. Rebecca demonstrates compassion and is driven to help others.

Rebecca Kahindo

Quote: “I help not because I want to show off what I have, but because I know how it feels to have nothing”