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William Waters Scholarship recipient Amanda Parris aims to help marginalized youth


By Fred Michah Rynor

September 17, 2012

Amanda Parris 2012 William Waters Scholarship Recipient

OISE student Amanda Parris has been awarded the coveted William Waters Scholarship for 2012.

Parris reports that her "mouth fell open" when she was informed that the scholarship committee had chosen her for this $30,000 subsidy.

"It's a beautiful feeling knowing that you don't have to worry about money when it comes to paying for your education," Parris states. "I was in a state of shock for a number of days because I honestly didn't feel I would get it but it's a real recognition of the work I'm currently doing in education and an affirmation that alternative education has real value."

Parris, 26, is co-founder and managing director of Lost Lyrics, a mobile/interactive learning incubator that creates educational bridges between the streets and the classroom in Toronto. Born in London, England, this talented 26 year-old came to Canada 16 years ago when her mother realized this country had the kind of diverse and cutting-edge education that she wanted her daughter exposed to.

"Mom wanted me here because there is a variety of dreams you can pursue in Canada when it comes to study and career," says Parris. "and the very progressive nature of OISE appeals to me as well as the professors who come from different spaces in life and who are willing to bring those experiences into the classroom."

Parris doesn't believe in having just one career "and so the amazing freedom of academia allows me to be able to follow the artistic aspects of my life.”

She plans to use her talents and education to work in schools that specifically target underprivileged and marginalized youth.

OISE offers four William Waters Scholarships annually to promote excellence in urban classroom teaching. Candidates are experienced teachers entering a full-time Master's program with interests in social justice and academic success for students from economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods and under-performing schools.

William R. Waters, creator of the scholarship, is Professor Emeritus of Economics and Finance at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at U of T and was educated at the University of Toronto and the University of Chicago.