Two time CU Succeed Youth Bursary award recipient Ben Johnson spoke at the 28th Classic to let everyone know the impact the bursary has had on his educational pursuits. Ben has received awards in 2018 and 2019. Here are his words:

Ben Johnson

Hello everybody, my name is Ben Johnson, I am a student currently attending Brock University – I am studying Neuroscience. I am grateful to be awarded the CU Succeed Bursary last year. 

My background isn’t the most pleasant, but to sum it up I had to leave home at the age of 16 because of abuse, and moved in a youth shelter. But due to my circumstances, i was determined to build myself a better life where I could be successful and contribute to society. I didn’t drop out of school, but rather continued studying hard and ended up graduating with a 93% average. Coming from a shelter was not a pleasant experience, I had to deal with the stigma and over come barriers. The only way I was going to succeed was to find a job while attending school to support myself – this meant sacrificing study time to take shifts at work, and settling for outdated textbooks since I couldn’t afford the newest edition. I also had to rely on hefty student loans to supplement tuition fees. One day, I heard about the CU Succeed Bursary, and with a hopeful mindset, completed the application. After many weeks of building anxiety, I got an email with fantastic news. Not only did the Ontario Credit Union Foundation raise enough funds to support dozens of Ontario students, but I was selected as one of them! Looking back, I sincerely and profoundly appreciate the commitment you are all making here today. Every dollar furthers the ability for students like me to build a brighter future. I now have a chance to be successful and look forward to the opportunities I will have down the road to give back to my community. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I will now be able to fulfill my dreams of attending university and would like to continue my education obtaining a Master’s Degree and eventually a PhD. I strongly believe in ‘Paying it Forward’ and one day I will be able to help someone like myself to achieve their dreams just as you helped me. 

As for now, I give back and volunteer in my community and participate in extra-curricular activities at my university. At Brock I participate in student government, and am the Chair of the Governance Committee. I won an award for ‘Student Council Member of the Year’ due to my contributions. I also won the ‘Community Volunteer Award’ from Brock University’s Student Life and Community Engagement for my contributions to Brock Cares Days where I volunteer in the community with local agencies. 

Thank you again for your support. Your generosity shows that you believe in the success of the next generation of future leaders.

Thank you,

Ben Johnson