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Three‑time recipient of Sir Graham Day Award ‘pays It forward’

Posted by Sonya Jampolsky on April 29, 2024 in News

Arcel Siosan does not let anything come between him and his aspirations. The recipient of three Sir Graham Day scholarships knows hard work and the goodwill of others can make a world of difference. What he learned from Day is that it's never too soon to pass that goodwill on.

Siosan, who’s graduating with a Bachelor of Management and Bachelor of Science (Recreation) combined degree, is already using his success to help his own family, who live in Whitehorse, Yukon, as well as vulnerable people in his home village in the Philippines. Siosan’s father had a debilitating stroke in 2015, leaving his mom to support the family.

Sir Graham Day passionate about sharing good fortune

When Siosan received his first award of $7,000, he says he  “ ...didn’t expect that was such a blessing.” He paid his tuition, sent money back to his family, and paid for 60 care packages for people in the village of Miranda, Philippines.

Siosan explains that where he’s from “... has high rates of poverty.” With the help of family who live there, he used some of the award to purchase rice and hygiene products, which were then assembled into packages and delivered.

Having met Sir Graham Day and spoken with him a few times, Siosan is inspired by Day’s commitment to community and family business, something he would like to emulate. Day is known for his passionate conversations with students about the importance of sharing your good fortune.

Always think about where I came from

Having just finished his dream co-op in Montreal with the Canadian Olympic Committee, Siosan is looking across Canada for his first post-graduation job. Plans are also underway to set up a business with his father in the Philippines. Siosan and his father have bought land in their old neighbourhood, where they want to open a market for fresh food. It’s not going to open anytime soon, he says, adding ‘it’s something we’ll keep working on.’

When Siosan received his second Sir Graham Day Scholarship, he knew he wanted to do something for the children in Miranda. This time Siosan and his father were planning to be in the Philippines, so he decided to have an afternoon of games and prizes (pictured right). Siosan and his relatives also cooked them a meal. “I give credit to my mom and dad in terms of always making me think about where I came from.”

Immigrating to Whitehorse when he was 10 wasn’t ‘the most fun experience’, he says. But his interest in sports helped him integrate into the community. Playing table tennis and volleyball, he participated in three Arctic Winter Games, one Canada Winter Games, two Canada Summer Games, and a Western Canada Summer Games.

During his first three years at Dalhousie University, he played volleyball for Dalhousie Tigers. Siosan laughs when he says, “I had to try-out, I wasn’t recruited. Recruiters don’t come to the Yukon for athletes,” he chuckles.

Eleven students receive award this term

Reluctant to apply for the Sir Graham Day scholarship after receiving it once, Siosan was encouraged by the undergraduate advising office to apply again. Sir Graham Day scholarships are awarded twice a year to students who are excelling academically, and who demonstrate an interest in family business, transportation, or business-government relations.

The most recent recipients of the scholarship are James Cameron (MPA), Ben Boudreau (CRMBA), Nicole Solie (CRMBA), Chloe Duras (MPA). Rohin Minocha-McKenney (CRMBA), Jacob Benoit (CRMBA), Alec Brooks (MPA), Emma King (BMgmt), Mary MacKay (BMgmt), Katie Verge (BComm), and Lara Issa (BMgmt).