Toronto, Canada (CTV News) — Basketball legend Vince Carter, who got his start in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, is showing his appreciation for Canada with a new scholarship opportunity.
Even those who don’t know much about basketball know Vince Carter, who put the Raptors on the map in 1998.
Carter finished his professional basketball career with the Atlanta Hawks last year, retiring after a record 22 seasons. Although he’s played for eight teams during his career, he’s never forgotten where it began.
Applications are currently open for a new scholarship created by Carter in partnership with the Paris Media Group, which will send five kids who can’t afford a private education to J. Addison School in Markham, north of Toronto.
Carter is American, but wanted to launch the program here.
“That’s where his NBA career began,” Paris Dryden of Paris Media Group, told CTV News. “He loved the atmosphere of Toronto and in Canada. He thrived here.”
The scholarship is $25,000 per student, and to apply, you need to be between 16 and 18 years old and headed into Grade 11 or 12 this fall.
“While the programs are open to all, Vince Carter strongly encourages the Black community, Indigenous community, people of colour and young women to apply,” a press release from January states.
“Statistics show that there are lower numbers of minorities and women within the named employment sectors, executive positions associated with the noted program fields but more noticeably in the STEM sector.”
Applicants must be passionate about a subject, but it could be anything from sports or music to science or math. They need to provide evidence of community service and a 500-word essay.
The deadline for applications is March 28.
While students don’t need to be athletes, J. Addison does have an elite girls basketball team, with some students already there on scholarship.
“Scholarships are very important because it gives them an opportunity to get into the school, get a great education, and also get access to a good university,” Lee Venditti, principal of J. Addison School, told CTV News.
Chris Francis, who coaches the girls’ basketball team, said it is “life-changing” for some of the students to receive scholarships.
“A lot of these kids are coming from disadvantaged neighbourhoods,” he told CTV News. “These kids need a scholarship to ascend.”
One student on her way up is 16-year-old Mary Ansare.
“It worked out for the good, because the basketball program helped me as a player and as a person too,” she told CTV News.
Students from anywhere in the world can apply for the scholarships, which means, according to Carter himself, that “there will be fierce competition for this scholarship.”
“So I encourage you to bring your best stuff.”
The scholarships will be announced in the spring.
J. Addison is only the first school to be involved — the plan is to offer more of these scholarship in the coming years, both across Canada and in the seven cities Vince Carter called home during his NBA career.
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