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Two Peace Country students selected to sit on Education Minister’s Youth Advisory Council

Charles Spencer High School’s Seth Bourke, and Glenmary School’s Mikayla Dubois, have been selected alongside 39 other students across Alberta to sit on the 2020-2021 Education Minister’s Youth Council. Each of the selected students was chosen from hundreds of applicants province-wide.

The Minister’s Youth Council will meet three times during the 2020-2021 school year to participate in discussions and activities with Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange. The Council has already met once virtually, and the next meeting is set to be in February.

Seth says the first meeting, which was held via Zoom, focused primarily on students returning to school, mental health, transportation, and technology. He adds there is no shortage of subject matter in the education system that needs addressing.

“I think we’re at a very crucial moment as the COVID-19 pandemic is happening and we need to adapt to the new normal and I wanted to help address the unique challenges in Grande Prairie,” he says. “I believe that I can help bring the issues that are in Grande Prairie [to the table], talk to the minister, talk to experts in the education system, and give my opinion on how we can improve it, and what’s going good and what’s going wrong.”

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Seth says some of the topics he is excited to have input on include second language opportunities, improving transportation, and mental health, among others.

“As a French immersion student in Grande Prairie, I feel like the program isn’t as good as it can be, and I feel like with talking to the minister and my colleagues, we can collaborate on ideas for how to improve it.”

“I feel like right now, the biggest hole in our education system is student-to-administration/provincial connections, so I’m hoping that with our perspectives we can help make the education system better for students,” he adds.

Mikayla says she joined the council to advocate for more special needs support in schools.

“I want to see more Educational Assistants, more technology, and more awareness about mental health,” she says. “I want mental health support to be a conversation and not just a poster on the wall.”

Mikayla developed several brain disorders after a battle with brain cancer and is visually and hearing impaired. She adds she has already learned a lot from the other students on the Council and enjoys hearing all their different perspectives.

She adds a large focus on discussions within the council were on student experiences in the current education system, as well as the return to school through the pandemic.

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