A Grade 11 student from Sa-Hali secondary will be one of 300 youth from across the country attending the first-ever Canada Youth Summit next month.
Sarah Seymour will represent B.C. at the two-day conference, May 2 and May 3, in Ottawa, where the federal government has invited Canadians ages 16 to 24 to celebrate the launch of the country’s first youth policy and discuss key issues important to them.
Sa-Hali principal Rachael Sdoutz gave Sarah the good news that her application had been selected.
“I was over the moon, honoured to be selected and to know that mine was the best out of all the applicants,” Sarah told KTW.
There are three key issues affecting youth Sarah hopes to bring to the attention of government while in the nation’s capital — cannabis, vaping and technology.
She said she’d like to discuss having more educational programs on the dangers of cannabis and, possibly, an older legal consumption age than the current 19.
As for vaping, Sarah said it’s a popular activity among youth and she wants to discuss the dangers of the product, given the lack of known long-term health impacts.
“It’s so in right now that everybody wants to do it and I think it’s pretty dangerous to be experimenting with these types of things,” she said.
The pros and cons of cellphone use is another topic Sarah wants to stress, noting that while she doesn’t think there needs to be a full-out ban in schools, there should be some boundaries on their use in the class.
“The world is changing every single day and sometimes you can’t keep up with it, so I think giving some feedback of what the student perspective is will definitely benefit the government and the youth of today,” she said.
Sarah said she’s not quite sure what will be on her itinerary for the two days, but understands the two-day conference will be used to help develop youth policy.
The summit will involve discussing issues such as the environment, jobs and building more equal and inclusive communities, according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Sarah said she is looking forward to meeting with students from all over the country at next month’s conference and getting a better perspective on their everyday lives.
Canadians invited to attend the summit at Carleton University were nominated based on their work on Canada’s Youth Policy, or by provinces, territories and youth-serving organizations.
Seymour was selected through a competition held by the BC Principals’ and Vice-Principals’ Association.
Sdoutz informed Seymour of the opportunity to apply, tasked with writing a letter outlining her leadership experiences and why she felt she should attend the conference — and Sarah has a lengthy resume to boast about.
This year, she became a member of the B.C. Student Voice Network and is also involved with her school’s Link Leaders program, which involves monthly meetings with Grade 8 and international students to support them in their transition into secondary school.
She has also been a member of Sa-Hali secondary’s leadership team since she was in Grade 9 and is part of the Principals’ Advisory Committee — a student group that discusses issues and looks for solutions at the high school level.
Sarah also recently attended the Student Voice BC Provincial Regional Forum and helped host a local version of the forum in School District 73.
SD73 superintendent Alison Sidow is proud of Sarah’s selection to the Canada Youth Summit.
“She is a shining example of what can happen when a student, with hard work and determination, is able to connect with every opportunity to make a difference,” Sidow said.
As for Sarah’s career aspirations, she said she would like to study sciences and medicine and possibly become a doctor.
“I think I’d like to do my undergrad at TRU and we’ll see where I go from there,” she said.