BY BALWANT SANGHERA
Punjabi Language Education Association
SURREY-BASED Indo-Canadian Business Association of British Columbia (ICBABC) has been doing an excellent job in encouraging and recognizing our young people who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and community involvement. It has been doing this for 18 years. The latest 19th Annual Achievement Awards Ceremony at Arya Banquet Hall in Surrey on May 11 was another huge success. It was a sold-out event with more than 600 persons in attendance.
ICBABC started the scholarship program known as Achievement Awards in 1997. To date it has raised and distributed over $350,000 in scholarship funds. Not only that, ICBABC has also done a commendable job in raising funds for numerous charitable organizations. It has been in the forefront in recognizing and encouraging outstanding students in our community. Every year, it provides scholarships to very deserving students who have been excelling not only academically but also in other areas. This year, ICBABC added two new categories, Sports and Special Needs. Like previous years, this year’s awardees were outstanding. Thus ICBABC ‘s screening committee selected 16 students – 13 for their academic achievement, two in the Sports category and one for Special Needs. These students were from all over Metro Vancouver – Surrey, Vancouver, Delta, New Westminster, Burnaby and Richmond.
ICBABC officials stated that the response by students has been excellent. It received 140 applications for scholarships from very well-deserving students and had a difficult time picking out the finalists. The recipients: Amarpreet Powar (New Westminster), Gita Minhas (Richmond), Monica Jandu (Delta), Harjot Uppal (Delta), Coralle Tcheune (Surrey), Aman Turna (Surrey), Harleen Rattan (Delta), Jovin Khehra (Burnaby), Karanvir Dhillon (Surrey), Tanveer Brar (Delta), Arshvir Dhari (Vancouver), Nishaaan Dulay (Delta), Kharanshu Desai (Burnaby), Helen Lord (Delta), Ravleen Rattan (Richmond) and Saleha Ali (Richmond).
To its credit, ICBABC has also been in the forefront in helping with implementation of Punjabi language classes at Simon Fraser University (SFU). Three years ago, ICBABC collaborated with SFU in offering Punjabi language classes at its Surrey campus. Prominent businessman and ICBABC Board member Arvinder Bubber, along with Board member Kanwarjit Sandhu played a key role in making it happen. Consequently, ICBABC offered to contribute $30,000 – $10,000 each year for three years – in order to offer Punjabi classes at the Surrey campus. This is the final year for the Punjabi language support at SFU by ICBABC. It is very encouraging to note that SFU has agreed to continue the Punjabi classes at its Surrey campus. However, we need to ensure that each year enough students enroll in these classes in order for the program to continue.