Tara Dewan is one “Savy” person.
Savy, an acronym for scholar, athlete, volunteer and youth, is an award created by 53 division’s community response unit and community police liaison committee.
“It recognizes youth for not only their academic and athletic excellence, but more importantly, for their volunteerism and contributions to improving their community,” said staff sergeant Peter Henry.
Dewan is a Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute graduate and the second recipient of the award, which comes in the form of $1,000.
“The funds are raised in combination of the community police liaison community and 53 division,” Henry said. “A lot of money was raised in May at a community barbecue.”
Henry thought it would be a good opportunity to raise funds for a good cause, which wouldn’t have been possible without help from the event’s sponsors.
Dewan was thrilled when she found out she was chosen for the award.
“Sergeant Henry left a message for me at my house,” she said. “I first thought that I was in trouble.”
Dewan said she was very excited when she heard the news because she did not expect to win.
“One of my teachers approached me with an application form and said ‘you never know,’” Dewan said. “I thought it was just an off-chance. But, hey, I worked really hard this year and in the end it could pay off. It did and I was really happy.”
In her final year of high school, Dewan was a serious scholar and took a variety of classes.
“I focused on social sciences and business, so I took world issues, international business, English, and French,” she said. “My final average was a 94.”
While it wasn’t an easy task, Dewan said it was worth the work.
“I loved the courses I was taking and loved the teachers I had this year,” she said. “It was nice and it was a challenge, but really worth it.”
Athletics is also a focus of the award, and an area where Dewan excels. She spent her personal time going to the gym, walking and swimming.
“I realize that I’m still young and it’s important to stay in shape,” she said.
Henry said he felt Dewan deserved this award because of her volunteer work.
“With the award, certainly academics and athletics are important, but in my opinion, the volunteer aspect is the most important,” he said. “It’s how that young person is supporting their community and making their community a better place to live.”
Dewan succeeded in that field, too.
Henry said she was involved with local feeder schools in the neighbourhood and acted as a role model to new students.
“I was assigned a younger girl in grade 9 from Bangladesh,” she said. “She needed someone to help her get adjusted in the school, and be a role model to a friend.”
Dewan’s leadership role continued with student council and her efforts raising funds for Haiti.
“I was watching the news coverage and was really touched,” she said.
Instead of waiting for someone else to do something in the school, Dewan decided to take matters into her own hands by raising money. After four days, she raised $4,058.
“That was really cool,” she said. “That was definitely a shining moment of my final year.”
In September, Dewan will go to the University of Waterloo, where she has been accepted to the arts and business co-op program. She said the money she received as part of the award will go toward paying her tuition.
As for her future, Dewan is not sure which path she will take, but she knows she wants to be happy.
“There’s so many things that I could do and I don’t think I really have a specific goal yet,” she said. “I want to do something I’m really happy with, something that I love, and a little bit fun, too.”
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