North York student among 30 awarded $100K Loran Award


A North York teen is among 30 recipients of the 2021 Loran Award, Canada’s largest undergraduate merit-based scholarship.

Oluwatoni (Toni) Agbaje-Ojo, who lives in the area of Keele Street and Steeles Avenue, was chosen because he’s “a doer on all kinds of levels and he stepped up to lead initiatives for the benefit of others,” Loran Scholars Foundation spokesperson Danielle Sanders said in an email.

The $100,000 award includes annual stipends, tuition waivers, mentorship, funding for summer work experiences, and annual retreats.

Eight of the 30 recipients are from Ontario, including Stephanie Urena Rodriguez from Toronto's Bishop Strachan School.

Agbaje-Ojo, a Grade 12 Upper Canada College student, is president of Horizons, a mentoring and tutoring partnership with Toronto elementary public schools. He leads a council to support the development of his school's anti-oppression strategy. He also organizes book drives, runs fitness programs for youth and educates his peers on sexual consent.

Agbaje-Ojo corresponded with via email about his scholarship win.

You’re involved in several community initiatives that benefit others. What led you to become involved?

My mother is my hero; her favourite phrase is “there’s no greater purpose than service to others.” She often asks me what I am doing to help others. I try to live by her example every day and look for opportunities to help those in my community.

What motivates you to take on leadership roles in these projects?

I try to live by Mahatma Gandhi’s quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” In my younger years, I always hoped that someone else would fix problems in my community. But as a result of trying, failing, and trying again, I gained self-confidence in my ability to create meaningful change and impact others. I am motivated to lead in my community because I believe that education and awareness are crucial to creating a better world for everyone.