Maura Del Medico

Maura Del Medico's headshot photo
In 2015, the Rick Hansen Foundation School Program named Maura Del Medico of Ontario as our Difference Maker of the Year for her efforts to enhance the social environment of her school and help her fellow students. Last year, the Rick Hansen School Program received requests for almost 1100 Difference Maker certificates; they are awarded to students who show qualities exemplified by Rick Hansen and his work: determination, inspiration, courage, leadership, teamwork, and making a difference in the lives of others.

Dare to Have Fun

In her last year at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School in Aurora, Ontario, Maura took on the challenging role of President of DARE – Drug and Alcohol Resistance Education, a school-based program. With the fellow members of DARE, Maura worked hard to inform the students at her school that it was possible to have fun without drugs or alcohol. They delivered educational information, but they also held events that demonstrated how to party safely – putting the lesson plan into action in a way that was fun and effective. These efforts helped to raise the level of student interest in the club.

In addition to her work with DARE, Maura was also a member of the Student Council, which works to enhance the environment of the school and create a sense of community through events such as the Spring Dance, a danceathon and a bake sale, which raised money to support a member of the school board whose illness made it difficult to cover family expenses.

Rick Hansen Difference Maker of the Year

After being nominated by the Vice Principal of her school, Mr. Delbert Allan, Maura was officially awarded a Difference Maker certificate, which was made available to her school by the Rick Hansen School Program. In August, the members of the School Program selected her as “Difference Maker of the Year”. She will receive an engraved iPod from the Rick Hansen Foundation to commemorate the achievement.

Maura says she is really happy, and a little surprised, to be selected from her entire school population (there are 1450 students at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School) for this recognition.

Maura’s teachers are less surprised, praising her commitment and dedication.
"Maura’s level of commitment to being of service and promoting issues of justice is only surpassed by her infectious spirit of optimism. She consistently demonstrated dedication and enthusiasm in all of the many endeavors she took on during high school, she was an most valuable part of many clubs, discussions, and initiatives."


Making a difference through medicine

Maura has graduated from high school and is now a student at the University of Guelph, where she studies bio-medical sciences. Her plan is to become a pediatric oncologist, making a difference in the lives of children with cancer, and their families.
"Maura has been engaged in a vital way at St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS since she arrived in grade 9. She has been part of almost every major initiative at our school, and has proven to make a difference to her classmates, the school community and the community of Aurora at large."

Mr. Delbert Allan, former Vice-Principal, St. Maximillian Kolbe Catholic High School

Maura during a stage performance

About the Rick Hansen School Program

Beginning as a national program in 2000, the Rick Hansen School Program provides elementary and secondary school teachers with a comprehensive set of lessons to challenge students to see the potential of people with disabilities, understand the barriers to inclusion and access, and make their school and community more inclusive and accessible.

About the Difference Maker Program

The Difference Maker Program gives students an opportunity to participate in a one-month teacher-led program that instills social responsibility and empowers students by giving them the skills they need to make a difference in their school or local community. The Rick Hansen Difference Maker Award recognizes students who have made an outstanding difference to their school or local community.


Here is what Maura’s teachers – and the school principal - have to say about her:
"Maura was heavily involved in our school in many co-curricular activities - she was especially helpful in her role during Holocaust Education Week where she had a significant role in the delivery, planning and organizing of our presentation to the community at large."

"Maura was a caring and compassionate student. She was always willing to lend a hand in class and was a positive role model."

"On a personal level, I would describe Maura as a compassionate individual who keeps the best interest of others in mind while also being outgoing and a positive influence on those around her."

"A very nice, polite, respectful student. A pleasure to teach. Maura was always striving for excellence. Very generous with her time and knowledge, always helped friends and classmates in need."