Brave Young Leader Took the Lead and a Full-Year Academic Scholarship in Brescia’s Fourth Annual Public Speaking Contest “Take the Lead”

April 9, 2012

London, ON – Sarnia’s Yasmeen Ibrahim inspired the panel of judges and others in the crowd when she delivered the speech that won the top prize at Brescia University College’s fourth annual Take the Lead public speaking contest on March 31st.

“When Dr. Hanycz called my name, I was completely shocked. There were so many strong speeches,” said Yasmeen, a Grade 11 student from the same high school as the 2011 winner, Northern Collegiate Institute & Vocational School. She is thrilled to have won a full-year academic tuition for her first year at Brescia.

All contestants were judged on content and delivery in a preliminary round of speeches composed by Brescia staff, faculty members, and community leaders. The top seven then moved on to the final round. Second place was awarded to Athena Dunlop from St Joseph Catholic High School in Windsor and the third-place prize went to Mandy Auplish from John Fraser Secondary School in Mississauga.

Yasmeen is grateful to her family who encouraged her to compete for the chance to win a scholarship at Canada’s only all women’s university. “This competition also helped me understand Brescia’s philosophy of being bold even more. Ever since I began high school, I’ve always known about Brescia as being Canada’s only girls’ university. I never really understood the meaning behind the “Brescia Bold” expression. The competition opened my eyes to the type of students the school wishes to nurture: strong, open-minded, independent, and empowered women. I also love and can’t get over the very social and friendly atmosphere between the students and the staff. Brescia is one in a million.”

This year, the panel of final-round judges included Jane Fitzgerald (Executive Director of the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex), Joan Francolini (Order of Ontario, and Past Chair of Brescia University Foundation), Liz Hewitt (local lawyer; and Vice-Coordinator, Brescia Council of Trustees member), Dr. Monika Lee (Associate Professor of English, Brescia), Natalie Lovie (103.1 Fresh FM radio-host), Carol Kehoe (principle of CK Communications, Communications Director for the Network for Business Sustainability, Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, and Brescia Foundation volunteer), and former Take the Lead scholarship winner Sarah van Dusen.

Dr. Colleen Hanycz, Principal of Brescia University College, said that she would be proud to welcome any of the contestants to Brescia. “To see the intense focus that the next generation has on critical issues of leadership gives me great confidence in the future. It has been a gift to hear the passion and creativity that each of these young women has brought to this competition.”


For more information please contact Colleen Aguilar, Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer, at 519.432.8353, ext. 28280 or

Brescia  University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is affiliated  with The University   of Western Ontario. The  1,100 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide  variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating  environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic   College welcomes students  from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit