“Kind and vibrant” Yimaj Baharun to receive Paul Gallagher Award


Even though the Covid shutdown kept Yimaj Baharun off campus for half the time he attended Dawson, he made his mark on the community and will receive the Paul Gallagher Award during the 2:30 p.m. graduation ceremony on June 22 in recognition of his community involvement, leadership and academic achievement.

In his time at Dawson, Yimaj has poured much of his energy into serving as Vice-President of Student Life of the Dawson Student Union (2021-2022). Besides that, the Social Science (North-South Studies) soon-to-be graduate was involved in the campaign to maintain Dawson’s healthcare pavilion project, was captain of the Reach for the Top team and participated in Model UN and SPACE magazine. This is not the first award Yimaj has received at Dawson. In the fall of 2021, Yimaj won the David Oliver Award.

Shining light during Covid years

“Yimaj is a remarkable and amazing young man, a shining light during these difficult Covid era years,” said his English teacher Ursula Misztal, who nominated him for the award. “You have no idea how thrilled I am to hear that he has won the award.”

In her letter, Ursula described Yimaj as “a natural leader as well as a kind and vibrant human being, a beautiful balance of warm and assertive human characteristics that sets him apart in my mind from students who are singularly ambitious. He is a person who is best understood and appreciated in the context of the people he is connected to through the causes that define him and his style of leadership is also the style of a mentor or teacher, someone who helps to guide others through both inspiration and example.”

For his part, Yimaj feels privileged to receive this award. “It’s really rewarding as well to see that Dawson recognizes us students for our efforts towards the community,” he said in an interview.


Ambitious change maker

“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had aspirations of being able to keep my work ethic at the highest standard in order to one day be in a position where I’m able to make change, be it in politics or otherwise,” he said. “For this same reason, I got involved in things like the DSU and its initiatives such as the College expansion petition, and at the same time did my best to maintain academic standards and keep my mind open and ready for learning. It’s with these same ambitions in mind that I plan on going to law school.”

As he leaves Dawson, Yimaj said what he liked best was “getting to know a much more diverse range of people and learn so much. Even my French improved a ton!”

Yimaj will be studying law at Université Laval this fall. “After my degree I eventually plan on getting into politics and continuing my community involvement,” he said.

Last Modified: June 7, 2022