Ontario Junior Citizen Awards
Nomination Deadline Extended to December 10
With concerns about the current postal strike, and Junior Citizen Award nominations arriving to the OCNA office on time, we have decided to extend the deadline. Packages will now be accepted until Monday, December 10. Nominations postmarked with this date will also be accepted, even if they are not received at our office until after the deadline.
In addition, if sending a nomination in the mail makes you nervous, feel free to submit it via e-mail. Scan your pages and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in recognizing someone between the ages of 6-17 who is making a difference within their community, now is your chance! Download the nomination forms below.
Help us celebrate the best of your community!
Nominate an outstanding individual you know, and help us recognize the incredible determination, imagination, and spirit that make our lives and our communities better. If you know someone who is involved in worthwhile community service, is contributing while living with a limitation, has performed an heroic act, demonstrates individual excellence, or is going above and beyond to help others, then please nominate them!
Nominees may be involved in
A committee of newspaper editors, publishers and the program's sponsors will then select up to 12 individual award winners.
Every nominee will receive a certificate of recognition from their local community newspaper, and the final recipients are invited to a special ceremony in Toronto.
The Ontario Junior Citizen Awards are a public service of your community newspaper.
- Almost five million Ontario households receive a paper published by a member of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association. The Association acts on behalf of its members to help them better serve their communities.
- Each submission must include at least two supporting nominations.
- Parents/Guardians must sign to acknowledge the PIPEDA policy.
- Nomination forms are available for download below and from your local community newspaper.
Separate Parent Signature Form
Also available at
& can be returned to
2017 Ontario Junior Citizens Recognized
On Monday, March 5, the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA), hosted the 37th annual Ontario Junior Citizen Awards on the 54th floor of the TD Tower. Twelve outstanding youth from across Ontario were recognized in front of family and friends for their inspiring community involvement. The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, attended as congratulator-in-chief.
Recipients were delighted to also meet Premier Kathleen Wynne on the grand staircase of the Legislative Building after a tour of Queen’s Park.
The OCNA would like to thank its member newspapers and corporate sponsor TD Bank Group for continued support in recognizing tomorrow’s leaders.
Top from left to right: Gary Clement, Senior Manager, Government Relations, TD Bank Group; Graham Beer, 17, Cobourg; Frank Hong, 16, North York; James Potvin, 9, Whitby; Lucas Gordon, 16, Ancaster; Ramsay Jackson, 13, Greensville; William McCormick, 16, Sudbury; Daniel Zhang, 16, Scarborough; Ray Stanton, OCNA President.
Bottom from left to right: Holly Tetzlaff, 17, Trenton; Subrana Rahman, 17, Toronto; the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; John Perry, 8, Collingwood; Autumn Peltier, 13, Wikwemikong First Nation.
2017 Ontario Junior Citizens Announced
The 2017 Ontario Junior Citizen Finalists have been selected and will be recognized by OCNA member newspapers for their outstanding achievements. The 12 individuals are future leaders making conscious efforts to see change in society and are working hard to make a difference both locally and globally. Although very different and unique, they all share one aspect in common - they are all truly inspiring, and their stories illustrate creativity, determination and generosity.
These final recipients and their families will be invited to a special ceremony in Toronto to receive their award.
The 2017 Ontario Junior Citizens, listed in alphabetical order:
Graham Beer, 17, Cobourg
Graham is Executive Producer and Host for Cobourg Media, an online news and multimedia business he launched at the age of 12 with a complete studio set up in his basement. He has videotaped and reported hundreds of events within his community, proving to be an ambassador and strong supporter for various organizations and fundraising events including Walk a Mile in Her Shoes and Ribfest Harvest Festival. Through his Cobourg Media Christmas Specials, he has raised over $6,000 for the Salvation Army and Northumberland Food Share. His passion for journalism has led to many great opportunities, including a segment on CityTV covering Vimy Ridge’s 100th Anniversary from France. He believes “it only takes one decision to make a difference that can empower others to make a substantial impact that can last a lifetime”.
Marcus Deans, 16, Windsor
Marcus’ many contributions include extra-curricular activities within his school and community, as well as personal achievements in science research. As Vice-Chair of the Young Philanthropists, he has helped raise $7,000 and presented grants to low-income schools and community organizations within the city of Windsor. His involvement as Co-President of his school’s Student Council helped collect 10,000 cans (from a school of fewer than 150 students) to help feed hungry and less fortunate people at the Downtown Mission.
Marcus is also a STEM enthusiast and his $2 water filter for developing counties, the ‘NOGOS’, won best Junior Prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in 2015. More recently, he concluded research on inhibitors of the Zika Virus and identified 14 compounds with high potential for stopping the dangerous disease.
Lucas Gordon, 16, Ancaster
Five years ago, Lucas poured his love of Halloween into a fundraising initiative and transformed his parent’s garage into a haunted house, encouraging visitors to donate one non-perishable food item as admission. The charitable movement saw more than 600 guests in its first year and collected more than 250 pounds of non-perishable items for a local food bank.
Just a couple of years ago he founded a company called RedReach, which is an online job posting and application platform, specifically for youth employment. RedReach has partnered with McMaster University, and has been accepted into the McMaster Startup Business Incubator, The Forge, making Lucas the youngest person to have been accepted into the business incubator. In addition, among many other notable contributions on his resume, Lucas also recently joined Plan International Canada’s I AM A Girl National Speakers Bureau as a Public Speaker, and advocates for female rights.
Frank Hong, 16, North York
Frank has been volunteering with his local constituency since he was just nine years old. During the 2015 Federal Election campaign he was voted as one of the Liberal Party’s youngest Community Team Leaders. His extensive work in politics and advocacy landed him a spot on MUCH’s first youth digital series, SIDES*. As a panelist on the show, Frank discusses current events and issues with an intelligent, thoughtful and moderate perspective.
Just a couple of Frank’s noteworthy achievements include holding the position of Vice President of the Toronto District School Board’s Super Council, representing over 250,000 students, and helping coordinate many city-wide events. In addition, a first-place finish at the HOSA International Leadership Conference and a team-effort invention of the Epi-Strip (a more effective, painless method for delivering epinephrine doses) earned Frank the position of National Officer at HOSA Canada.
Ramsay Jackson, 13, Greensville
Ramsay is a hero. His courage and noble qualities essentially saved a Life Skills Class from being dismantled. His school was slated for amalgamation, and an original plan saw the Life Skills Program being terminated, with intent to disperse special needs students throughout the school board. Ramsay recognized a need to advocate for those who, he felt, didn’t have a voice, and took it upon himself to create a petition called ‘Keep Us Together’. He single-handedly collected more than 120 signatures at the small, rural school. His determination and strong moral compass had an impact and helped reverse the school board’s intentions, ensuring the Life Skills Class remained intact for the future.
William McCormick, 16, Sudbury
Since becoming a member of the Chief’s Youth Advisory Council last year, William has been an active leader and helped organize a Crime Prevention Conference where he spoke about the positive impact volunteering can have on youth. Volunteerism is something William has practiced for many years, donating his time to a local food bank, nursing home, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Learning Disabilities Association and St. John Ambulance since the age of 10.
Most notably, however, William founded a national initiative called ‘Service Not Forgotten’, which provides personal support to homeless veterans in the form of backpacks filled with personal items. More than 5,000 items have been collected and donated to shelters across the country. The organization also raises awareness for the issue
Autumn Peltier, 13, Wikwemikong First Nation
At just 13 years old, Autumn is a role model and veteran activist. She is proud to be Indigenous and feels very passionate about preserving the environment and creating awareness for the importance of clean drinking water. She was one of two youth advocates chosen to represent Canada during the 2015 Children’s Climate Conference in Sweden, and during the 2016 Winter Meeting of Canada’s Premiers in Vancouver, she addressed her concerns directly to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Autumn recognizes that water is the lifeblood of Mother Earth and it needs to be protected. Through traditional water ceremonies and speeches across the country, Autumn is helping to “make the world a better place for kids that come after her”.
John Perry, 8, Collingwood
Despite challenges living with Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy, John remains focused on helping others and creating more accessible programs for children with physical disabilities. He is actively involved with the Ontario Track 3 Ski Association, a ski program for children with mobility challenges. John’s cookie sales have raised over $1,000 for the program to purchase specialized ski equipment, and as co-chair of the Disc Ability fundraising event, he has helped collect enough funds to install accessible washroom facilities. At just eight years old, John manages to approach each day with a positive attitude and inspires others to give back.
James Potvin, 9, Whitby
James had to overcome many social anxieties associated with Autism after he travelled 450km on a bicycle and raised $10,000 for the Grandview Children’s Centre. The ride garnered much attention and he was invited to many major news networks, local newspapers and radio stations across the province for interviews. Although the ride was intended solely to benefit the not-for-profit treatment centre, James also helped raise awareness for Autism and became a role model for others – especially those with development disorders - proving that anyone can accomplish something if they put their mind to it.
Subrana Rahman, 17, Toronto
Subrana’s community has experienced gun violence, theft and substance abuse, but despite (or perhaps because of this) she strives for excellence and works diligently to help those in need. She has contributed to Pathways to Education for the past three years and has been awarded Best Director for her efforts. She helps newcomers to Canada feel more at home, cooks for the homeless, makes shelter beds and feeds the mentally/physically disabled. In addition, Subrana is currently registered in the MaST (Math Science and Technology) program at the Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute. She is thriving in the program and somehow finds the time to balance her academics, extracurricular activities, work, family and friends.
Holly Tetzlaff, 17, Trenton
Holly chooses to focus on issues that are important to her and manages to find ways to make them important to others. She is founder of the ‘Red Fish Route Environmental Awareness Campaign’, leading elementary students through hands-on experiments to raise awareness of disintegration rates of toilet paper vs. commonly flushed items. The program aims to develop environmentally-friendly habits. She has attended World Environmental Day as guest presenter and student panelist, and was an exhibitor at the Tri-County Children’s Water Festival, which saw roughly 3,000 students attend.
In addition, she promotes peace through a global initiative she spearheaded called the ‘Peace Crane Project’. Holly taught every student in her class how to fold an origami crane, which would each be accompanied by a letter explaining the project, a travel log to record its travels, and a request for the recipient to visit a symbol of peace in their community before sending it to someone else. Since then the entire student body, staff and administration have participated, and over the years, cranes from Holly’s initiative have landed on almost every continent.
Daniel Zhang, 16, Scarborough
Daniel shows true dedication to his volunteer efforts, often travelling 1.5 hours to a hospital after school to help deliver meals. He has done so every week for the past few years and has consistently been involved in community activities since age eight. He spends his Saturdays playing the piano for recuperating patients to provide them with a soothing environment, and shows initiative and leadership skills that exemplify the good virtue of respectable citizenship. Additionally, Daniel demonstrates excellence in personal achievements academically and recently attended SHAD Summer Camp at the University of British Columbia, a competitive enrichment program in science, technology and entrepreneurship for gifted high school students from all over the world.
The Ontario Junior Citizen Awards are promoted through the 280 member newspapers of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association. Nominations of eligible youth aged six to 17, are received through member newspapers committed to recognizing the outstanding leaders who are making a difference in their communities. Nominees may be involved in community service, are young people who are contributing to their community while living with a physical or psychological limitation, or individuals who have performed acts of heroism or bravery. Candidates are also recognized for being ‘good kids' who show a commitment to making life better for others. A panel of judges unanimously agreed on the final award recipients.
Updates on a few previous Ontario Junior Citizens:
Justin Hines, 1999 Ontario Junior Citizen, Stouffville, ON
Justin was recognized for applying his musical talents, and incredible optimism and spirit to support charities and help others, all while dealing with his own physical challenges.
Justin has since toured internationally, and is recognized worldwide for his advocacy. He continues to sing, write, and speak about hope and helping others, and received the Order of Ontario in 2014 for his charitable work and international success.
Annaleise Carr, 2012 and 2014 Ontario Junior Citizen, Simcoe, ON
At age 14, Annaleise was the youngest person to ever swim across Lake Ontario. Two years later, Annaleise swam across Lake Erie. Combined these efforts raised awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars for Camp Trillium, a family camp for children with cancer.
Since then, her book, Annaleise Carr: How I Conquered Lake Ontario to Help Kids Battling Cancer has sold thousands of copies, and inspired many others to take on great challenges and help others.
Maya Burhanpurkar, 2010 Ontario Junior Citizen, Shanty Bay, ON
At age 11, Maya was an ‘A' student who had already conducted her own research on plant-based antibiotics, donated her hair for wigs for children with cancer, and volunteered for a summer at a rural hospital in India.
Since then, Maya raised money for Haitian earthquake relief, received many humanitarian and science awards, and discovered the physical nature of a previously only theorized property in physics!
We would like to thank our generous sponsors
TD Community Giving
TD Bank Group invests in communities in order to effect positive change in the places where it operates and where its clients and employees live and work. In 2014, TD donated over $82 million to support community organizations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Canada, TD focuses on education and financial literacy, creating opportunities for young people and the environment. For further information, please visit www.td.com/corporate-responsibility.
Fergus Printing Inc.
McLaren Press Graphics Ltd
Temiskaming Printing Co.
For more information on the Ontario Junior Citizens Awards,
- Please contact Kelly Gorven 416-923-7724 ext. 4439.
2016 Ontario Junior Citizens Honoured During a Special Ceremony
On Monday, March 20, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, hosted the 36th annual Ontario Junior Citizen Awards ceremony in her Suite at Queen’s Park. Thirteen outstanding youth from across Ontario were recognized in front of family and friends for their inspiring community involvement.
Recipients were delighted to also meet Premier Kathleen Wynne on the grand staircase of the Legislative Building after the ceremony.
The Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA) would like to thank corporate sponsor TD Bank Group and its member newspapers for continued support to recognize tomorrow’s leaders.
Pictured top from left to right: Claire Jordan, 11, Toronto; Gordon Cameron, OCNA Past President and Group Managing Editor, Hamilton Community News; Sarah Jordan, 14, Toronto; Jack Mogus, 16, Oakville; Blaise Barber, 18, Hamilton; Brooklyn Lampi, 13, Kincardine; Dario Smagata-Bryan, 17, Welland; Veronica Chan, 17, Markham; Gary Clement, Senior Manager, Government Relations, TD Bank Group.
Pictured bottom from left to right: Nadine Carter, 13, Stouffville; Hira Waheed, 17, Hannon; Corbin Evans, 12, Brockville; the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario; Miranda Li, 17, Toronto; Sharon Lim, 16, Oakville; Mansimran Anand, 17, Brampton.