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Once an at-risk student, now a Vari Scholar

Dong-Ling Chen dreamed of becoming a teacher. The University of Toronto Vari Scholarship made it possible


Dong-Ling always dreamed of becoming a teacher after experiencing firsthand the positive impact a teacher could make.

"When I received the call that I had been awarded the University of Toronto Vari Scholarship that would pay for my entire university education, I broke down immediately and cried,” says former student Dong-Ling Chen.

As an at-risk student, Dong-Ling was inspired by the kindness of a high school teacher who helped her towards a renewed and better path. Years later, with the support of the Vari Scholarship established by The Honourable George and Helen Vari, Dong-Ling was able to land her first job in teaching.

“Scholarships have the potential to change people’s lives and make dreams come true,” says Dong-Ling.

While a student at Victoria College and then at OISE, Dong-Ling gave back to the U of T community. She launched an education magazine, which is still published twice a year, and became president of the Student Teachers’ Union at OISE.

Dong-Ling plans to use her skills in teaching to work with other at-risk students.

Inspired by Dong-Ling's story? Make a gift to the OISE Annual Fund and support aspiring teachers who deserve a second chance.