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Libro presents $2000 awards to seven local students


by Sylene Argent

Seven local students received much-needed relief for their tuitions last Thursday, as representatives of Libro Credit Union presented $2,000 to successful applicants through the annual Student Awards program.  

  The seven local recipients were among the 35 students, from across Southwestern Ontario, who were successful in receiving Libro’s 2020 Student Award. The program recognizes youth, between the ages of 17 and 25, who have demonstrated outstanding commitment in their local communities through volunteerism, leadership, and academic performance.

  As part of the local celebration last week, and with social distancing regulations still in place due to COVID-19, Libro had a nine-vehicle caravan pass each home of the lucky recipients in a drive-by parade, honking their horns in celebration, while playing music and dancing.

  The lucky recipients, one from each community from which Libro has a branch, applied to the program.

 

The seven local recipients were: Kyah Gori of Leamington, Abby DiLaudo of Kingsville, Lauren Abbott of Harrow, Vanessa Montemurri of Windsor, Sophie Shepherd of Belle River, Elizabeth Dalton of Amherstburg, and Zachary Rezler for Essex.

  Rezler, of the Tecumseh area, was welcome to apply for the Essex award as it is the closest branch to his home. He is currently preparing to head back to McMaster University in the fall to begin his fourth-year of study in the health sciences program, with the hope of one day becoming a doctor.

  He heard about the Student Award Program as a volunteer and employee of the LaSalle Hangout for Youth.

  “$2000 means a lot, especially now, to go to school in Hamilton. I’m home during the summer, but now, COVID has stopped a lot of work I could do,” Rezler said. “It will definitely go a long way.”

  Rezler has worked with St. Alphonse Church to deliver groceries to those in need, he has volunteered with Hotel Dieu-Grace Healthcare, and last year traveled to Kenya as part of a mission to build schools. In Hamilton, he joined a couple of clubs, tutors university students, and provides one-on-one support for elementary school students.

  His mother, Mary Kristo-Rezler, said she is proud of her son for all of his accomplishments.

  Rezler said he gets his sense of the community from his parents, who have always encouraged him to give back. “It definitely made me feel a bigger part of the community.”

    Wassim Sarweh, Branch Manager of the Essex Libro, said when selecting students for the award, high marks was one criteria, but the selection committee wanted to see the students put in a lot of volunteer hours in the community that aligned with Libro’s values. This includes opportunities to strengthen leadership skills and roles.  

  Rezler, Sarweh said, impressed the selection committee with his 95 percent average at McMaster, combined with his over 600 volunteer hours. “Libro is lucky to have him as an advocate and recipient.”

  The level of commitment these students have towards their communities and academics is inspiring,” Lori Atkinson, Libro’s Regional Manager for Windsor Essex, said in a statement of all the recipients. “With such bright futures ahead, we are thrilled to contribute to the education of these seven exceptional young leaders.”

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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