Grand Prize Winners
The votes are in! After listening to amazing music remixes from students across Canada, the judges have selected the Grand Prize Winners of the 2021 Canada Your Voice is Power competition. Congratulations to students Mary Penta Reddy and Saumya Tiku and to our winning teacher, Mr. Turner Ruetz.
Grade 10, Merivale High School
Saumya is a sophomore from Merivale High School in Ottawa, Ontario. She received $5,000 to support her post-secondary education or in starting a business. Being a visible minority herself, Saumya empathized with the struggles and hardships the Black community has faced and was motivated to help break down these racial barriers. She was greatly inspired by Black entrepreneurs, such as Pharrell Williams and Jay-Z, who have accomplished so much despite the adversities and social injustice they continue to face to this day.
Saumya hopes to continue to use her voice to raise awareness and be a part of the change to achieve racial equity within her community. She included audio clips from Pharrell and Jay-Z’s song “Entrepreneur,” Ciara’s “Set,” Richard Devine, Young Guru. Her song also includes a verse she wrote and performed herself.
Saumya plans to study Medicine and help underprivileged communities while also using computer science, particularly machine learning, within the medical field. “Although this entire experience started as any other school assignment, this competition has inspired me to continue sharing my voice to promote racial equity and encourage others to become advocates and allies as well,” said Tiku. “Additionally, I have learned a lot about Python, APIs and the widespread use of programming in various industries, including music. I am excited to continue exploring my new interest in computer science and use it to create change in all aspects of life!”
Mary Penta Reddy
Grade 10, J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate High School
Mary is a sophomore from J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate High School in Ajax, Ontario. She received a $5,000 grant to support her post-secondary education or to start a business. Her entry was inspired by black excellence day and the increased unemployment during the pandemic, and included audio clips from Pharrell Williams, Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.
Mary plans to study for university and pursue her interest in computer science. “It was a fun experience to try new things by coding with Python to create music. I had a great time participating and got more knowledgeable about the lives of black entrepreneurs, when researching for the remix!” said Penta Reddy.
Music Teacher, St. Anthony's School
Mr. Ruetz, our winning teacher, is from St. Anthony’s School in Kincardine, Ontario. He teaches music from grades 1 to 8, and is being honoured with a $1,000 prize for going above and beyond to help his students.
Armed with coding experience in his background, he knew adding Your Voice is Power into his music lessons would provide a unique way to engage students in artistic creation using computer science! Students even approached him in the schoolyard with questions about how to do write code to make changes to their music remix.
“Your Voice is Power has been such a powerful and engaging program for my students and me. From rich and meaningful conversations to building confidence in one’s ability to create music, this has been extremely impactful and memorable,” said Ruetz.
And lastly, our ten Honourable Mentions, who each won a $25 Amazon.ca gift card.
Richmond Hill, ON