Announcing the recipients of the 2023 Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship


From left to right, the recipients of the 2023 OPSBA-PBC Scholarship are: Isaiah Shafqat, Kenzy Soror and Vaishnave Raina.

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Public Board Council of OSTA-AECO are pleased to announce the winners of the 2023 Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship is based on an outstanding leadership initiative accomplished during the student trustee’s term and how the initiative positively impacted the students in their board. The intent of this scholarship is to recognize outstanding achievement and provide financial support to a graduating public board student trustee to assist with their post-secondary education plans, whether they choose to attend university or college or start an apprenticeship.

Isaiah Shafqat, Indigenous Student Trustee at the Toronto District School Board
Isaiah, the longest-serving Student Trustee in the province, successfully advocated for a mandatory Grade 11 Indigenous literature course to be implemented across Toronto’s English public schools. Described as a “leader among leaders,” Isaiah’s academic, community service and leadership accomplishments are unparalleled. He maintained a 90% average while accumulating more than 700 hours of community service, volunteering to mobilize youth voting, plan 2SLGBTQIA+ Student Pride week (now annual), and events in support of advancing Truth and Reconciliation. This led to him recently being awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Student Volunteering. Provincially, he is the Chair of the Indigenous Relations Committee at OSTA, and has a provincial profile as an advocate for Indigenous Education, evidenced by the fact that he was recently invited as an Ontario nominee to the Honouring Indigenous Peoples Youth-to-Youth program in Winnipeg. Isaiah will be attending Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus in the fall to study law and human rights.

Kenzy Soror and Vaishnave Raina, Student Trustees at the Waterloo Region District School Board
Kenzy and Vaishnave worked and advocated together to create a new student election process that is now more accessible, transparent, equitable, and inclusive for present and future WRDSB students. This past February, every WRDSB secondary student directly voted for their representative in a board-wide election process for the first time in WRDSB history. Kenzy has been described as “instrumental” in the creation of two systemic changes, including the aforementioned election process as well as a new process for solicitation of the creation of more inclusive student feedback. In addition to creating a new election process, Vaishnave also ran the WRDSB’s Student Mental Wellness Conference, Asian Heritage Day and student roundtables. Kenzy plans to attend the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University for a “double degree” this fall in Computer Science and Business Administration. Vaishnave will attend the University of Waterloo for Geography and Aviation, with a dream of joining the Canadian Air Force as a fighter pilot.


Student trustees represent the voice of students in decisions about education and they help keep students informed about important decisions that affect them. They play an important role in the education governance process and are actively working at the local board and provincial levels on a number of initiatives.