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The DBEN Cultivating Possibilities Awards were orginally named the DBEN Activating Student Success Awards). The awards program which was created in 2012 was influenced by our work with renowned educator, Principal Baruti Kafele, who inspired us to mobilize the academic and community leadership of our students.

Scholarships and awards are provided to celebrate the accomplishments, and to encourage, and empower students from Grades 7 to 12 from the Black Diaspora as they strive for their dreams.


As our outreach has grown, so has the impact! 2023 will be our 11th anniversary of the awards. We have renamed the program to the DBEN Cultivating Possibilities Awards, but the mission and focus are the same. We continue to work with the community to further support the forward and upward trajectory of Black youth while highlighting the community allies and elders that help make this all possible.





DBEN encourages Black students to “realize the gifts that their ancestors gave” and pursue their dreams. The village rises with you. Apply. 


All awards are open only to current and/or graduating DDSB students who self-identify as members of the Black Diaspora.

To view, All Awards Based on Category click here

DBEN Community Leadership Elementary Awards

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These four scholarships are awarded to elementary students (Gr. 7-8)  who have demonstrated leadership in their school community.

Ifarada Institute of Excellence Award

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These two $500 scholarships will be awarded  to one female student and one male student who have demonstrated leadership, resilience, and an ability to overcome adversity in their personal circumstances.

Syfox Stepping Up Award

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This $750 award will be awarded to two male students who are pursuing post-secondary studies.

Evelyn and Elisha Steele Scholarship  Award

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This $1000 scholarship award will be presented to a Grade 12 graduating student who is pursuing post-secondary education in the field of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

DBEN Community Leadership Secondary Awards

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These four are scholarships awarded to secondary students  who have demonstrated leadership in their school community.

The Power in Me award

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This $1000 award will be granted to a graduating student who has demonstrated strong character and leadership and who may be the first in the family to pursue post secondary education.

Kiburi Pride Award

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This $1000 scholarship award will be presented to a student who self-identifies as Black and 2SLGBTQ or who is active in an ally capacity fighting against homophobia and transphobia in their school or community.

Euleen Thompson Award


This $250 award will be granted to a student pursuing post-secondary studies in the performing arts, theatre, music, dance, vocal studies, creative writing, film studies or film production.

Queen Rising Award


This $500 award is granted to a female student who has demonstrated involvement in community work and/or social justice initiatives.

Mark Joel Trailblazer Award

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In honour of Mark Joel, this $500 scholarship award will be presented to a student who  is pursuing studies in the field of Education.

Educators Award


The DBEN Educator Award is presented annually to a Durham District School Board (DDSB) staff member who exemplifies the DBEN vision of optimizing the educational experiences of African and Caribbean students in the DDSB, and who has demonstrated perseverance, excellence, and leadership.

View the 2021 DBEN Educator's Award Recipient here

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