2016 Event Partner
Discover the Stars
The West Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce
The Discover the Stars program was created in 1997 by the West-Island of Montreal Chamber of Commerce (WIMCC). The first promoters were Graeme Maag from MDA Space Missions and Monique Richer of Bell Canada. The Co-Presidents of the 2016 organizing committee are Mr. Mark Hanna, President of Leeza Surfaces and Me Jean-René Paquette, of Paquette & Associés Attorneys.
The program aims to promote and guide students’ interest towards sciences and offers financial aid to those students that enter sciences within the fourteen public high schools of the CCOIM territory. This aid consists of $ 1000 bursaries per student, extended over two semesters during the first year of collegiate studies in a field of nature sciences or any program related to scientific technologies in a recognized college or university.
Each high school must choose a predetermined amount of candidates amongst graduates that have applied to cegep and must present their work to the selection committee. Their application letter consists of writing a 600 to 800-word text (for candidates of pre-university courses) or 300 to 500-word text with models or illustrations (for technology courses). The candidate is then interviewed for about fifteen minutes to validate his* knowledge on the work submitted and is also evaluated on his personality by a jury of three people representing businesses and the education sector. The evaluation, written works and interview results on the student’s file are reviewed annually.
The proposed theme was convened to be on the new economy. The majority of the sponsors are active in these sectors where businesses are facing competent personnel shortages. They are ready to invest long-term in these high school students in order to attract them to these career choices.
The results of eighteen years of activity are as follows: the two school commissions, the French – Marguerite-Bourgeoys and the English – Lester B. Pearson, which covers the same area as the CCOIM, have encouraged the high schools to collaborate. There have been 668 candidates chosen by the high schools over the last 18 years. Of these, 668 have received the $1000 grant.
The committee does not choose only on the basis of academic results but also by assessing the student’s personality, community interest, motivation and desire to advance particularly in sciences and humanities in general, as stated in the written text and interview.
For the past sixteen years, the Aileen Proudfoot Memorial Foundation (now funded by The Otis Grant & Friends Foundation), created by a family in the community to commemorate the loss of their daughter, a gifted student in the sciences, has attributed two $3000 grants to the most outstanding students of the contest.
The Discover the Stars’ committee’s structure is light; four members are representatives of sponsor companies, the general director of the CCOIM, the CCOIM events coordinator, four representatives of the education sector (high school and collegiate levels) as well as two retired administrators from the educational sector.
Bi-monthly meetings ensure continuity. The contest is launched in the fall, right after the prize-awarding gala has taken place and the interviews take place in the month of April.
John Abbott College and CÉGEP Gérald-Godin, two local institutions, have volunteered their campuses for the gala events, which take place in October. This event is to publicly announce the forty or so grantees and to invite 2 previous grantees (one from each sector-French & English) to speak of their accomplishments. The two recipients of the Aileen Proudfoot Memorial grants are announced during this occasion.