High school graduate Shamo Elghoche was the recipient of the inaugural Father Fred Mazzarella Memorial Scholarship presented on June 29.
It took place at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic Secondary School graduation at Woodbridge Banquet & Event Centre in Woodbridge.
Mazzarella, who in 1990 began working as a part-time chaplain with Toronto Police Service, died on Good Friday 2020 at age 87.
In the winter of 1964, a small group of Toronto cops took their sons to mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral and then to breakfast at a local restaurant. Ever since, officers have attended mass and then gathered for breakfast at a downtown hotel. St. Michael is patron saint of police officers.
This began a tradition resulting in the Service’s Communion Breakfast Committee, who conceived the idea for the scholarship to memorialize Mazzarella.
“The Father Fred Mazzarella Memorial Scholarship was envisioned as a way to honour a long standing Toronto Police Service chaplain and member of the Toronto Police Service Communion Breakfast Committee,” said Acting Deputy Chief Myron Demkiw, who chairs the CBC.
“He was very active in local schools and communities and exemplified Franciscan Values in all he did during his many years of service. As such the scholarship sought candidates from a local high school that embodied these values,” Demkiw said.
Ryan De Sa, a partner in a local law firm, made the donation to start the scholarship.
Retired Superintendent Peter Lennox, who is on the CBC, noted that the applicants were compelling.
“They practically had us in tears,” he added. “But Shamo stood out. She is a wonderful person who is moving from this stage to the next stage.”
In the last four years, Elghoche accumulated 786 volunteer hours in her school and the wider community. She also mentored Grade Nine students.
“Without mentoring, there would be no Apple computers and many of our great artists and industry leaders wouldn’t be where they are today,” said Staff Superintendent Pauline Gray who joined Lennox, Inspector Don Theriault of 31 Division, Sergeant Ross Fernandes and scholarship sponsor Ryan De Sa in making the presentation.
“Not everything can be learned from the school, the internet and the library. Sometimes, the only way to advance is to learn directly from someone who knows and whose lived experiences assist someone in growing. You have been that person Shamo.”
Elghoche received $1,000.
De Sa, the founder and president of De Sa Associates which is a personal injury law firm based in 31 Division, is delighted to be a sponsor.
“We have a responsibility as entrepreneurs to give back,” he said. “Shamo has done extremely well in her four years in high school and it is an honour for us to help support her during the next phase of her academic career.”
Elghoche will pursue Life Science Studies at the University of Toronto.
“I am so excited to be a winner of this scholarship and to be graduating,” she said. “My mother worked hard to get me to this point and I am so happy to show her that that work was not in vain.”
She plans to study medicine and become a neurosurgeon.
“My mom had an aneurysm four years ago,” she added. “That is when I said I wanted to help others the same way that the doctors at Sunnybrook hospital did when my mom had emergency surgery.”