Baljot Rai

Literacy, Education & Employment

Essay submitted by Baljot Rai
Grade 9 student, St. Paul’s High School; Youth in Philanthropy participant

Recognized as the heart of the continent, Winnipeg is a city of multiculturism and community.

Living here for the past 10 years has made me realize it is truly a city to appreciate but there are steps we need, to move forward. As a science-loving high school student, my vision for Winnipeg in 100 years is a city of intellect and knowledge. A national leader in education, research and innovation, and home to the brightest minds of the world; this is how I envision Winnipeg in 100 years.

Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” Through education, one is informed about problems and obstacles our world faces and about potential solutions. It is through such instruction that the world’s brightest minds are formed. In 100 years, I desire to see Winnipeg inspiring and initiating change in our province, in our country and in our world.

According to the most recent study done by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which compares science, math and reading skills of 15-year-old students in nearly 80 countries, Manitoba ranks last in math and science and second last in reading, compared to other provinces in Canada.1 I would like to see a change in these statistics.

Through philanthropy, we can make a large difference by funding more educational staff. Increased staff will help ensure smaller class sizes, providing students with more one-on-one time with teachers, which according to multiple research studies is extremely effective in increasing the overall performance of students.2 According to an experiment titled “Project STAR” which took place in Tennessee, students with smaller class sizes had a reading score eight per cent higher than students in larger class and they also achieved nine per cent higher math scores.3 With improved learning amongst students, Manitoba’s youth will solve many of the problems facing society.

Another concept fundamental to society is research and innovation. Currently there is a substantial amount of research occurring in Winnipeg, primarily through post-secondary institutions and scientific research centers, however this does not compare to the level of innovation and research accomplished in cities in Ontario and Quebec.4 Manitoba is home to multiple world-class research facilities, including the National Microbiology Lab, and for us to increase our presence in the innovation and scientific sectors, we must invest in research. Through philanthropy, we can make the necessary investments.

Orison Swett Marden, a 20th century author, once said, “One penny may seem to you a very insignificant thing, but it is the small seed from which fortunes spring.” Through our investments in education and research, fortunes most certainly will spring, but positive change cannot occur without a determined group of individuals behind it. Together as a society and a community, we can and will be, the drivers of change for our city.

In 100 years, Winnipeg will be a city of intellect, and will be the city in which scientific discoveries and ground-breaking innovation will occur; a city in which the brightest minds will be formed and will excel.


Hi, I’m Baljot Rai and I am 14-years-old. I currently attend St. Paul’s High School as a Grade 9 student. I am also one of two Youth in Philanthropy representatives from St. Paul’s High School. I would describe myself as a social and curious individual. In school, subjects of particular interest to me are science and math. Outside of regular classes at school, I also participate in conducting scientific research with a Biology teacher at my school.

Currently, my research focuses on discovering the antimicrobial properties of compounds containing monophenols, phenolic acid, and polyphenolic content. I also participate in my school’s Environmental Action Committee, Speech and Debate Club, Human Rights Initiative Group, and Book Club. In the future, I would like to pursue post-secondary education in the study of hematology and pharmaceutical sciences.

1 Parkin, A. (2019). PISA 2018: Summary of results for Canada. Environics Institute.
2 Ehrenberg, R.G., Brewer, D. J., Gamoran, A., & Willms, J.D. (2001). “Class Size and Student Achievement.” Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 2 (1), 30.
3 Woods, D. (2015). “The Class Size Debate: What Evidence Means for Education Policy.” University of California, Berkeley.
4 Conference Board of Canada. (2018). Innovation Provincial Rankings – How Canada Performs.

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