Peace Wapiti Public School Division offers congratulations to three students who will receive Aboriginal Youth Role Model Awards during the 16th annual Spirit Seekers Youth Conference feast beginning at 5 p.m., on Saturday, March 7 in the Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) gymnasium.
The three Peace Wapiti Academy (PWA) students will be among 16 outstanding youth from all over the Peace Country. Students are selected for the awards based on their achievements in their communities. Nominations for the awards are open to Aboriginal youth between the ages of 11 and 29 who have set and reached goals; are positive role models; demonstrate pride in their culture, and value and maintain a positive, healthy lifestyle.
Grade 10 student Colten Hodak has been selected for an award in the Academic Excellence category. Colten works hard to maintain a grade average above 80 per cent in all subjects.
Grade 11 student Cale Lindstrom will be recognized in the Career and Employment category. Last year, Cale enrolled in PWA’s Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) and has gained additional experience by working in the Electrical field during the summer months. By the time he graduates from high school next year, Cale will have completed the required hours for the first year of the Electrical trade.
Grade 12 student Spencer Diederich will be recognized in the Community Service category. Spencer was actively involved in Mighty Peace Day as a youth advocate, is a member of the Leadership group at PWA, and participates in several extra-curricular activities.
“The biggest thing for me is sharing the news of the award with my students,” says Shelly Logan, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Liaison Worker at Peace Wapiti Academy. “When I call on them to let them know that they have been chosen, they are shocked about the news; they cannot believe that someone would choose them to receive an award.”
“I believe in my students and I want them to believe in themselves as well. I tell my students, ‘You need to know where you come from in order to know where you’re going.’ These awards go a long way in helping our students to believe in themselves and define where they are going,” adds Ms. Logan.
The event will also include the annual bursary presentation in honor of Hayley Gardner, a Peace Wapiti Academy student who passed away in 2013. The award, initiated in 2014 by the Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth (CCAY) of the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre, will be presented by her parents this year. During the awards ceremony, one nominee will receive a $200 bursary and trophy in memory of Miss Gardner.
The Spirit Seekers Youth Conference is hosted by the CCAY of the Grande Prairie Friendship Centre and GPRC. For more information about the awards, visit https://spiritseekersyouth.wordpress.com.
Photo Caption: Colten Hodak (top left), Cale Lindstrom (top right) and Spencer Diederich (bottom right).
Correction Notice: A fourth student from PWSD, Nevada Rain, was recognized in the Athletic Achievement category. A Grade 12 student at Beaverlodge Regional High School (BRHS), Nevada plays for the BRHS Royals Basketball and Golf teams, as well as the BRHS/Peace Wapiti Academy Titans Football team. He has played community-based hockey since the age of seven and competes in the annual Alberta Native Hockey Provincials in Edmonton. This past summer, he organized a community softball team.