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64th Garnet Key

Sadik Elgallal

Sadik Elgallal — President

Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I wanted to be “great”. As a curious and inquisitive child, unsure of what being “great” even meant, I sought guidance from many teachers along the way. The first, being my homeroom teacher. She was the first to give me an answer that made sense. She told me that greatness is the compilation of a lot of small things done well. Thus, it was at this moment that I embarked on my journey to greatness— a winding road riddled with self-discovery and enlightenment. This lesson became the building blocks for something I’d experience years down the line.

During the Libyan revolution, I witnessed a humbling experience that would forever redefine my meaning of greatness. As active members of our community, my friends and I would collect metallic remnants left from the clatters of the night. After selling them to recycling plants, we donated the proceeds to displaced families in our community. One day, an elder from a displaced family invited me over for lunch, as they were trying to provide hot meals for those in need. After offering me food he said, “you did your part for us, and now it’s our turn.” I left this interaction feeling truly and wholeheartedly, “great”.

After sharing the story with family and friends, I woke up the next morning to find the entire neighbourhood participating in the recycling campaign. It was at this moment that I finally understood what greatness meant. Once we are able to come together and do our collective best as a community, greatness will unfold. It is truly a great honour to serve as the President of the Garnet Key and now I only ask that we, as students, come together and watch as the greatness unfolds.

Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson – Vice President

I'm currently going into my fourth and final year of Jazz Studies at Concordia and am very happy to end my tenure at this University as a part of such a storied community! I’m originally from Kelowna, British Columbia, and I would not have believed you if you told me within a couple years of starting my studies here that I would be at the place I am now, both emotionally and academically.

I’ve always had a deep connection to music. One of my very first memories comes from staring at the stereo in my dad’s truck, and actually comprehending what I was experiencing coming through the speakers. From then on it’s been spiritual. I’ve been involved in music in some form or another since I was five years old. First with piano, guitar & finally drums, which I am currently enrolled in. Music is truly a universal language that we can all understand, and ultimately I’ve learned that we are all drummers and singers, whether we think we are or not.

Through my role as Vice President I hope to lead by example along with my fellow Key members. We all have our own unique backgrounds and are extremely dedicated in our own ways. It is truly inspiring to be around other like-minded, uplifting, grounded, responsible and hard-working individuals. I hope that we can all push each other to great heights to bring good favor not only upon ourselves, but also to our fellow Concordians and the greater Montreal community. This honour is not only mine, but also of the department which I am a part of. I owe a debt of thanks to Charles Ellison, Gary Schwartz, Dave Turner, Josh Rager, Robin Chemtov, Shannon Thomson, Michael Pinsonneault, Sam Kirmayer, Jim Doxas and Adrian Vedady.

Peace, Love and Mercy.

Sabine Plummer

Sabine Plummer – Secretary

The opportunity to be part of a society with such an illustrious past and promising future, is one that I grasped with both hands and all the intent I had to spare. I have spent the majority of my undergraduate degree forging ahead in my classes and taking part in various student associations and clubs, as well as fulfilling the rigorous requirements of Co-Op and scavenging for spare lab experience with the giant step that is graduate school on the horizon. To have the chance to spend my last year of this degree amongst some of the brightest minds and most driven students at Concordia is both a great chance, and a welcome challenge.

With the pandemic drifting into new territory and the advent of whatever is in store for us this upcoming academic year, being flexible and adaptable is no longer a question of survival, but a new reality in our day-to-day. I have worked with multiple groups that have seen the landscape of their causes shift overnight and continue to morph every week. Thus, learning to organize and actualize within these new circumstances has become imperial. As Secretary to the 64th, I will strive to streamline communication and effectiveness, allowing every member of our team to achieve their goals to the best of their abilities.

The kaleidoscope of perspectives and experience making up this year’s cohort promises a varied and enthusiastic outlook. I could not be prouder to count myself amongst them. The last year was a harsh blow both to Concordia and the Montreal community at large, but we now have the knowledge and ability to build back better. As part of this year’s cohort, I will make the most of the time and resources given to us.

Charles Gauthier

Charles Gauthier – Treasurer

Hi! I’m Charles, a third year Mechanical Engineering student here at Concordia. Like many fellow engineering students, I’m greatly curious and inquisitive about the world around me. By nature, I love to tackle the unknown in hopes of expanding my knowledge and understanding. Thanks to this curiosity, I’ve been able to join numerous groups of people and meet fascinating individuals over the past few years. Prior to joining Concordia’s Mechanical Engineering program, I spent countless hours working alongside people with incredibly diverse interests, backgrounds, and ambitions for the future. Whether it was in Champlain College’s math club, music society, or cross-country team, I loved the feeling of being surrounded by students with unique talents and aspirations.

When I became a Concordia student, I sought after clubs and associations that would satisfy my hunger for new experiences and challenges. I first joined Space Concordia because of their fantastic achievements in rocketry, robotics, and spacecraft. In all honesty, I was initially skeptical about applying to the Garnet Key Society because of its reputation as being prestigious and honorable. Nevertheless, I gave it a shot and it’s been an amazing ride ever since! The wealth of knowledge that I’ve gained as Treasurer of the society has, of course, contributed to the fun of this undertaking. However, the bonds that I’ve formed with the rest of my cohort have been the most valuable aspect of my experience by far!

I’m grateful and honoured to be a part of Concordia’s community through the Garnet Key Society. Beyond the prestige of being a part of the Garnet Key, I’ve come to realize that the true merit of this accomplishment stems from giving back to the community and contributing to causes that make a difference around us.

I can’t wait to see what we, the 64th Garnet Key cohort, can accomplish this year!

Aidan Tecumsah Condo

Aidan Tecumsah Condo – Community Project Chairperson

Kwe! Ni’n teluisi Aidan Tecumsah Condo. I am a Mi’kmaq student from the community of Gesgapegiag, Quebec. I will be starting my second year of university this fall, majoring in First Peoples Studies and minoring in Law and Society. Coming from a long line of resilience and leadership is something that I take great pride in. My ancestors and my family are my inspiration and they constantly motivate me to push my boundaries, such as leaving home at the age of thirteen to pursue my high school education at a boarding school in Lennoxville, Quebec.

Being so far away from home at an early age wasn’t an easy task, but during my time away I managed to step out of my comfort zone on multiple occasions, and grow as both an individual and a leader. Over the years, I have gained a great deal of experience in event planning and community involvement, and I plan to continue growing these skills as I pursue a career in law. In the future, it is my dream to become a lawyer who specializes in Indigenous issues, so I will be able to continue supporting Indigenous peoples and communities on a much larger scale.

Emerging from a pandemic will be an interesting aspect that our cohort will have to navigate, but I have full confidence that we will strive to give as much as we can to the greater Montreal community, while tackling important issues. It’s an honour being a part of the Garnet Key Society, and I look forward to an incredible year with an incredible cohort.

Hanya Ismail

Hanya Ismail – Community Project Chairperson

Hey there! My name is Hanya, and I am a third-year Honours Psychology Concordia student, minoring in Multidisciplinary Studies in Science. Concordia University is a place where I have been able to find myself, reach my full potential and meet the most fascinating people I’ve ever known, and for that I am forever grateful! I am happiest here, and as a result, I have always been eager to give back to Concordia in any way I can. After being accepted into the Garnet Key, I realized how great of an opportunity this was to give back to the place that helped me grow.

When it was time to choose my desired position in the Garnet Key Society, some serious soul searching was required to choose what best fit with who I am. During this process, I realized that community involvement and charity work were always a major part of my lifestyle. It was a seed that was planted in me from a very young age by my grandma. We started off by preparing food for individuals experiencing homelessness. In these moments, I felt a unique joy knowing that I had a positive impact on someone’s life. Over time, this passion has grown with me, and so have my experiences with hands-on volunteering. I volunteered at day camps for kids with special needs, hosted a fundraiser for a national cancer institute, planned a class trip there to socialize and play with the younger patients, was a mentor at ASFA, and volunteered at a food security nonprofit organization at the beginning of the pandemic. For these reasons, I knew that I wanted to be a Community Project Chairperson during my mandate.

I am very honoured to be given the chance to represent Concordia University as a member of the Garnet Key’s 64th cohort. I am confident that we will accomplish many great things within the university’s community, as well as the Montreal community at large!

Alexandre Ton That

Alexandre Ton That – Recruitment Chairperson

Hello everyone, I’m Alex!

The COVID-19 outbreak has been hard for everyone including myself. However, it has also allowed many of us to take more time for ourselves. As a result, many have been able to discover new passions, learn new things, and begin new activities. As for myself, I have been able to start my journey at Concordia University. This experience has left me beyond grateful, as I have been able to witness high-quality education, an unlimited passion for teaching, and student empowerment. I have previously completed my graduate degree in Occupational Therapy, and have been working in this field for the past three years. In fact, it was the shift to online courses that allowed me to continue working while attending school full-time.

As a healthcare professional during the pandemic, I have worked on the front lines in essential care, and have taken on an increased daily load of patients. As mental health concerns increased during social distancing, I took the initiative to provide new occupational therapy services to help patients in need. I have also enrolled as an injector for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Ultimately, these experiences have solidified my desire to have a positive impact on those around me. And thus, it is my greatest honour to be a part of the Garnet Key Society, where I will be able to represent and serve Concordia University and the student body. Having the opportunity to support causes I strongly believe in through this platform has made my experience at Concordia as meaningful as possible.

Nicholas Kawwas

Nicholas Kawwas – Recruitment Chairperson

Hello everyone, I’m Nicholas! Born and raised in Montreal, I grew up studying French at school and speaking Arabic at home as I am of Lebanese and Palestinian descent. Six years ago, my family and I moved to San Jose, where I had to adapt to a new environment and an English education. Thankfully, I was able to successfully transition to living in the Bay Area and solidify my interests in technology and programming. Along the way, I studied Spanish for three years and immersed myself in the world of Latin music, dance, and cuisine. I am a big proponent for diversity and feel very comfortable in different settings due to my fascination with languages and cultures.

While I was accepted at great universities in the United States, I felt that I belonged in Montreal and at Concordia. I consider Concordia a family university as most of my uncles, aunts, cousins, and both of my parents studied here. I’m currently in my third year of Computer Engineering and have interned over the last two summers as a full stack developer. In my free time, I enjoy watching hockey, soccer games, and boxing matches.

As the Recruitment Chairperson, I am excited to connect with people from all kinds of backgrounds. I’m honored to be a part of the Garnet Key Society, and am eager to give back to Concordia and our community, while helping select and welcome the next cohort of Keys.

Adriana Freiha

Adriana Freiha – Banquet Chairperson

Hello! My name is Adriana, and I was born and raised in Beirut, which was very enriching. Despite being in a Middle Eastern country that is not as diversified as Canada, I made the most of it by traveling to different countries in Europe and North America every summer and met people from different cultures. I also went to a French high school that put me on a horizon full of opportunities and perpetual growth.

During my school years, I wasn’t motivated by the courses I took, and this is what pushed me to major in a field that interests me. I decided to go into a field where I could dedicate all of my energy, as it wouldn’t be about what I have to do, but what I want to do! This decision did not require a lot of thinking on my part, as I have always been involved in social events. In addition to being an event coordinator on several occasions, I also did various internships in the marketing and business departments of different companies. Therefore, majoring in Marketing at JMSB was the obvious choice for me, as it fit my character as well as my aspirations for the future in an industry that fascinates me.

Overall, my major and my past experiences really pushed me to run for Banquet Chairperson. I sincerely hope that we will be able to throw an in-person event this year, and make it as special as everyone hopes. While keeping the flame of traditions alive, I am looking forward to creating a memorable evening that represents the 64th cohort. I am honored to be a part of the Garnet Key Society and to be involved in the Concordia and Montreal community. I will do my best to keep this legacy alive.

Reka Sivasubramaniyam

Reka Sivasubramaniyam – Banquet Chairperson

Hello! My name is Reka Sivasubramaniyam, and I am currently in my third year of study in the Health, Kinesiology and Applied Physiology program. I am also pursuing a specialization in Athletic Therapy and a minor in Spanish, Hispanic Cultures and Literatures. Quite an interesting combination of programs some might say! When I tell people about my studies, they generally ask me why. To that I answer, why not? Why not challenge myself? Why not give myself the opportunity to gain a diversified set of knowledge? Why not embark on journeys that could someday lead to something I wouldn’t even be able to imagine?

Over the past years, I have volunteered at the CHU Sainte-Justine and the Montreal Games. I have also been on a service-learning trip to Peru with MEDLIFE which was a great educational opportunity that allowed me to be part of local community projects. Currently, being a member of my student association has given me the chance to be as involved as I can within my program. I truly enjoy giving back to my community, and I know that the Garnet Key will allow me to do just that. Being a Banquet Chairperson will test my limits and push me out of my comfort zone. However, I am thrilled to be involved with this project, and I look forward to this learning opportunity.

Concordia has allowed me to find my voice, interests, and passions, and I am honoured to be a part of such a great group of people. I look forward to working with these eleven amazing individuals this upcoming year, and I am confident that we will put in the time and effort necessary to be proud of what we accomplish as a team.

Briahna McTigue

Briahna McTigue – Marketing & Communications

Community, compassion and connection, are three C’s that have governed my life thus far. They are the building blocks of my decisions and aspirations, and ultimately led me to pursue a major in Journalism and a minor in Sustainability Studies at Concordia. As a second-year student, beginning university in the whirlwind that was last year, I have come to meet many new parts of myself. In the process, my three C’s also became solidified. Here, I learned the strength and comfort that community and compassion can impart, especially in a period where connection is limited. This time also made my value for external education increase exponentially. By ‘external education’, I am referring to all that a textbook cannot teach. I am speaking about the kind of learning that can only be acquired through experience. It is through these experiences that we are invited to step outside of ourselves and our sphere of understanding, lead with unequivocal empathy, and surrender to the fundamental power of listening. Thus, as the Marketing and Communications coordinator for the Garnet Key Society, I hope to use my position as a means to encourage connection within Concordia, and the Montreal community at large.

I am also extremely eager to use my time here to uplift and support a variety of local causes. Community work is something that I have always channeled my energy into and having the privilege of being able to do this in a group setting — especially with such dedicated individuals — is incredibly humbling. I am looking forward to the challenges and treasures that this year has in store, and I have full faith in the 64th cohort’s ability to stand together and achieve our goals!

Guilherme Sperb Pereira

Guilherme Sperb Pereira – Alumni Liason

If someone asks you to take your shoes off, do it.

In 2017, I struggled to understand the words of the fast-talking security guard at the Boston Logan International Airport when he asked me to remove my shoes. After all, I did not speak English at the time. This was the first time I left my Brazilian home, family, and culture. I was about to start my year abroad in America by myself.

Over time, I learned that changing shoes could be rewarding, challenging, and transformative. Growing up in southern Brazil, my commitment to stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying different shoes has been tested. Raised by a single mother, I am the first in my family to learn a foreign language and attend university. I am a dancer, content creator, researcher, and fan of singing competition shows.

In 2019, I came to Canada alone and pushed myself beyond what I thought were my limits. My family couldn’t provide me with financial help, so I worked multiple jobs while studying full-time, and transformed my difficulties into opportunities for self-growth. Now, nearly two years later, it is clear to me that Concordia has played an important role in my journey. It is where I found myself to be much more than an international and Neuroscience student. At Concordia, I became a learner and collector of shoes. And it is now, in Article XIV of the Garnet Key constitution, titled “Uniforms”, that I find my next pair.

As your Alumni Liaison, I’ll continue to share the history of the society, while using my communication skills to make everyone at Concordia knowledgeable about what we stand for and the impact we can have in our community. I look forward to learning the history of those who once wore these shoes, and I am very honoured to serve Concordia’s Garnet Key as its 64th Alumni Liaison.

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