Overview

Students are the most important partner in our education system and the Alberta government believes student voice should play a critical role in shaping every level of it.

With that in mind, it is important to give students opportunities to share input and perspectives on provincial programs and initiatives.

Student engagement initiatives:

  • empower students as leaders of their learning
  • provide opportunities to build positive working relationships with education partners
  • engage students as leaders of change in their communities
  • support leadership development for students at school and community levels
  • honour the capability and capacity of students to engage as authentic education partners

Benefits

When students have meaningful opportunities to be engaged, it can have a positive impact on them, their schools and the province as a whole.

Benefits for students

  • Practice and acquire skills for a successful future.
  • Ownership and sense of responsibility for learning and learning environment.
  • Understanding of diverse opinions.
  • Dialogue and negotiation skills.
  • Greater understanding of governance within Alberta’s education system.
  • Increased leadership ability.
  • Role in driving change.
  • New relationships with a diverse group of students and adults.
  • Improved critical thinking, knowledge application and problem solving skills.
  • Develop the skills to become effective participating citizens.

Benefits for schools

  • Improved relationships between students, teachers, parents, school leaders and education system leaders.
  • Programming and policies informed by student input.
  • Students take responsibility and ownership of their learning and school community.
  • Supports and promotes a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment.

Benefits to system and province

  • Collaborative relationships with education partners.
  • Access to valuable input provided by students with a diversity of opinions, ideas and lived experiences.
  • Improved decision making with a better understanding of students’ varied needs.
  • A more responsible education system that reflects greater diversity and inclusiveness.

Minister’s Youth Council

The Minister’s Youth Council consists of 32 junior and senior high students with diverse interests, identities, backgrounds and perspectives from all regions of Alberta. Students on the council provide their perspectives on educational issues.

Students are members of the Minister’s Youth Council for a 10 month term which aligns with the school year. During the school year, the council attends 3 meetings and engage in ongoing communication and/or engagement opportunities.

2018/2019 council

This incredible group of students has a wide range of interests, including entrepreneurship, environmental issues, inclusion and mental health awareness. They participate in many activities including sports teams, volunteer work, leadership conferences and more. They also have experience in a wide range of types of education, from public school to homeschooling in both rural and urban areas.

Anika Lukie, Fort Saskatchewan, Elk Island Catholic School Division

Anika has a passion for all things fine arts and has been part of her school’s theatre program for the past 3 years. Through acts of service for her parish community and tutoring younger students, Anika found she enjoys volunteering and mentoring others. As a member of her school’s leadership team, Anika continues to develop her leadership skills and bring positive change to her school community. Anika understands the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs and hopes to provide a voice for those who are unable to speak up. She is excited to learn more about how acceptance of all people can be integrated more fully into the education system.

Aria Finley, Ponoka, Wold Creek School Division

Aria was an exchange student to Thailand and they maintain their involvement with the Rotary Youth Exchange program by partnering with a district team member to be a peer councillor to inbound and outbound exchange students. They continue to expand upon their foreign language skills, especially French and Thai. Aria loves to spend time singing in choir, researching linguistic anthropology and practicing their circus skills. They recently attended a conference for youth looking to become humanitarian leaders and hopes to put what they learned to use in Thailand after graduation, finding ways to help Burmese refugees. Aria is eagerly looking forward to learning how Alberta Education develops curriculum and expanding their comprehension of issues facing schools today.

Broenyn Armstrong-Lettis, Peace River, Holy Family Catholic Regional Division

Broenyn is the winner of multiple awards: science fair, athlete and student of the year, art and academic awards. Her achievements showcase a diversity of interests which she believes is critical to a student’s growth. Broenyn is an empathy advocate to foster understanding, combat bullying and bridge relationships. She is driven to advance the collective interests on the Minister’s Youth Council by increasing program delivery through technology to increase critical thinking. She would like heightened programming for students who need to be challenged and tools to identify missing academic concepts that impact success in future learnings.

Brynn Farrants, Edmonton, Edmonton Public School Board

Brynn is a passionate Grade 11 student with a love for politics. She enjoys debate and learning new things. She volunteers with a local MLA and at the public library helping children learn to read. She has a passion for literature and reads books from many different genres. Brynn loves to travel and hopes to visit historical cities such as Rome and Cusco in the future. She also enjoys going to school and being a part of her school’s community as a student senator. By joining this council Brynn hopes to broaden her perspectives and learn new things about the education system in Alberta.

Cameron Litowski, Red Deer, Red Deer Public School District

Cameron is an avid LGBTQ+ advocate. He is the creator of the first QSA in the Wolf Creek Public School District. He is also a frequent interviewee with outlets such as CBC, Globe and Mail and other local outlets discussing LGBTQ+ perspectives and a former elected member of Central Alberta Pride, among his other projects. He also pursues academic rigour and aims to earn a degree in Mathematical Physics. On the Council, he is specifically dedicated to creating more opportunities for rural students, as well as pursuing mental health projects for all students in Alberta.

Carolyn Huang, Edmonton, Edmonton Public School Board

Carolyn is an avid reader and writer. She is a proud Girl Guide and was selected to represent Alberta on the Girl Guide National Youth Council. When she is not running around selling the last of her cookies, you can find her volunteering at festivals, day camps and other events. She is a mentor for new students transitioning to high school and had one of the lead roles in her school’s musical. Carolyn hopes to further the discussion about mental health and bullying awareness in schools in Alberta.

Dylan Taylor, Lethbridge, Lethbridge School District

Dylan is a driven French immersion student with a strong passion for the arts and can almost always be found singing, acting or drumming in school or community groups. He also supports these programs as the Fine Arts Representative on student council. Additionally, Dylan volunteers weekly at the Chinook Regional Hospital and maintains a part-time job on weekends. Dylan is eager to help encourage supportive and progressive school environments and hopes that he can use his unique perspectives and experience with the fine arts to make sure that every student, regardless of interests, has an excellent quality of education.

Emerald Robinson, Sherwood Park, Elk Island Public Schools

Emerald, a Grade 9 student, is a returning member of Minister’s Youth Council. She enjoys helping in her community, playing sports and exploring the outdoors. Emerald feels that the student voice is important to help create a safe and productive learning environment for all students. She is excited to continue making positive changes in the Alberta Education system.

Emily Chen, Calgary, Calgary Board of Education

Emily is an International Baccalaureate student entering Grade 12 in Calgary. Emily has a passion for both entrepreneurship and contributing to the community. She co-founded Notable Notebooks, a local start-up that was invited to present at MIT University in Boston and holds executive positions in organizations such as the Expedition STEAM Foundation and Scrollin’. For the 2018/2019 year, Emily looks forward to working with the Minister’s Youth Council to develop more personalized learning for students, as well as enriching the curriculum for the Career and Life Management course.

Emma Bowman, Yellowhead County, Grande Yellowhead Public School Division

Emma is passionate about Environmental Science and the actions people need to take to create a sustainable future. She enjoys every aspect of politics and how the decisions made in government affect everyone, both directly and indirectly. While attending high school, Emma has taken part in and enjoyed many extracurricular activities such as Performing Arts, Student Council, track and field. Emma and her Envirothon team have been provincial champions two years in a row. Emma is excited to bring a rural perspective to the council and hopes that one day there will be equal opportunities for both rural and urban students.

Ewen Erickson, Pincher Creek, Livingstone Range School Division

Ewen is very active in his community of Pincher Creek. He finds passion in small things like his music production and leadership activities within his school and the community. Being homeschooled in Grade 9 brought out Ewen’s passion for Jesus and his church family. Along with this, it showed him how to become a people person and enjoy helping others. Ewen hopes to be able to learn more about the future of education and how he can play a role in its development.

Faryal Faisal, Edmonton, Edmonton Islamic School Society

Faryal’s self-driven nature has led to her taking part in tournaments such as the APEGA Science Olympics and Model United Nations along with joining her school’s female tackle rugby team. One of her aspirations is to give back to her community by volunteering at different organizations including You Can Ride 2 and The Telus World of Science. Faryal has a passion for speech and debate which has led her to join her high school’s debate club and found her school’s first junior high debate club. By joining the Minister’s Youth Council, Faryal wishes to learn about how the provincial government accommodates such a diversity of students and how to increase awareness about environmental stewardship through the curriculum for students across Alberta.

Gracyn Golinowski, Wainwright, East Central Alberta Catholic Schools

Gracyn is an accomplished public speaker. Despite having hearing loss, she placed first a number of times at the highest level of 4-H public speaking in the province. Gracyn is an active volunteer in her community, volunteering at seniors centres, the Wainwright Stampede, veterinary clinics, public and separate elementary schools and various cancer fundraisers. Gracyn also participates on her school’s curling and golf teams. Most recently, her softball team won the league championship. Gracyn values physical and mental well-being and is a member of the health champions program at her school. Gracyn mentors younger students who are deaf and hard of hearing. She hopes to bring attention to issues surrounding rural education and students with special needs.

Izabella Faytone, Lethbridge, Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Regional Division

Izabella is a Grade 11 student who is actively involved in her school’s fine arts program and enjoys sharing her musical talents. Izabella is looking forward to volunteering with Alberta Health Services in the coming year and plans to pursue a degree in obstetrics. She is excited to learn more about youth mental health and the development of the Alberta curriculum.

Jadyn Anderson, Calgary, Calgary Board of Education

Jadyn has a passion for sports and helping others. If she is not playing soccer or rugby, she is often volunteering at a local community centre. She spends her summers working as a camp instructor, teaching youth various biking skills. Jadyn is involved in her school community through We Are One club, slam poetry, Model UN, book club and sports teams. Jadyn is looking forward to working with others to bring new ideas to our education system.

Jeremy Christopherson, Fort McMurray, Fort McMurray Public School District

Jeremy is interested in government policy and participates in debate and public speaking groups in his school district. He is a proud Francophone and an active member of an environmental club at his high school, as well as the Alberta Climate Leadership Youth Network. He enjoys volunteering in his community, playing basketball and refereeing youth ice hockey, including at the recent Alberta Winter Games. As a member of the Minister’s Youth Council, Jeremy hopes to promote dialogue on topics including environmental education and mental health.

Joanne Picard, Edmonton, Edmonton Catholic School Division

In the winter, Joanne enjoys skiing with the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiers and in the summer she likes traveling to Quebec to visit her family. This is Joanne’s fifth year on the City of Edmonton Youth Council and second year on the Stollery Youth Advisory Council. She is a strong advocate for inclusion and supporting diversity. Joanne is also a patient mentor for the U of A Faculty of Medicine. She volunteers on several other boards and committees that support the disability and/or LGBTQ2S+ community. Joanne is excited to serve on the Minister’s Youth Council and learn more about Albert’s inclusion policies and how we can support students with diverse needs.

Joel Noskey-Wigton, Red Earth Creek, Loon River First Nation

Joel enjoys playing video games and reading in his spare time. While in high school, Joel was selected to be on his school’s student council. He joined the Minister’s Youth Council because he wants to learn how new and more advanced technologies can be used to further education for people in today’s society.

Jonas Lehar, Calgary, Calgary Catholic School District

Jonas enjoys travelling and trying new things. He volunteers at school functions and at his local parish. In his spare time, Jonas plays piano and does Taekwondo. When Jonas travelled to Ottawa this year to attend the Forum for Young Canadians, he discovered a love for politics and debate. He also attended the Calgary Law Day public speaking competition and made it to the quarterfinals. Jonas is interested in how we can continue to create ties between different subject areas to create a more wholesome and interlinked curriculum.

Kierah Patterson, Calgary, Calgary Academy

Kierah enjoys playing the ukulele, singing, traveling and reading. She volunteers with CISV, an international organization focused on building a more just and peaceful world through experiential learning. There, she holds a position as the representative for Calgary on the national board and as a representative for Canada internationally. Kierah is close with her family and enjoys spending time with her siblings. She is very passionate about mental health awareness and cares deeply about equality, with an emphasis on LGBTQ+ issues. She hopes to help diminish the stigmas attached to mental health and the LGBTQ+ Community.

Krish Shah, Fort McMurray, Fort McMurray Public School District

Krish is a Grade 10 technology enthusiast and environmental steward who is dedicated to implementing entrepreneurship and innovation in his community. He developed HALO, a smartwatch application that is able to detect and act upon sudden/subtle heart irregularities. This project won a silver medal at the national science fair. Krish is a co-founder of an environmental organization known as EcoYOLO which has brought over 600 students to plant over 4000 saplings around his community. He actively participates in robotics, chess and coding at the provincial level. Krish is also on the board of directors for YouthComputing, an organization that promotes STEM throughout its community. Through Krish’s constant volunteering, he was awarded with the prestigious Governor General Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteering.

Leo Huang, Calgary, Calgary Board of Education

With a passion for knowledge, Leo has sought many opportunities to broaden his experiences and to meet new people. From assisting others as a math tutor to participating in student council, he understands what someone can gain by helping their community. Whenever he is free, you might see Leo playing his guitar or going for a run, though never at the same time. As a returning MYC member, he will provide guidance to this next group of young leaders as well as demonstrate the importance and power of student voice.

Madelynn Wait, Spruce Grove, Edmonton Public School Board

Maddy enjoys art and pottery as well as movie nights with her two siblings and mother. She is an active member on her school senate and has visited Norway to compare our school system to theirs. Maddy is excited to be a part of the Minister’s Youth Council to learn more about equity for all students and varying curriculum and assessment execution techniques.

Nalyn Tindall, Camrose, Battle River School Division

This is Nalyn’s second term on the Minister’s Youth Council. She is a Grade 10 student who is heavily involved in her school community. Nalyn is one of the leaders of her school’s QSA, part of many award winning music programs including choir, jazz band, concert band and is currently playing a lead in her school’s upcoming musical production. She is also a triathlete who has competed at the provincial level. Nalyn hopes to promote student voice and decrease the influence of stigmas within school environments in order to promote student engagement and success.

Pakeeza Mushtaq, Brooks, Grasslands Regional Divison

Pakeeza is a tutor, member of her school’s student council and newspaper and vice-chair of the local library’s Teen Advisory Board. Pakeeza avidly volunteers for numerous local and global organizations and is driven to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Pakeeza’s love for science and helping others motivated her to conduct research into the potential of essential oils as a selectively toxic cancer therapy. Pakeeza is passionate about promoting STEM and inquiry based learning in rural schools. Moreover, Pakeeza believes it is important to increase interactions between newcomers and Canadian-born students in order to successfully integrate these individuals.

Sarthak Singh, Calgary, Westmount Charter School Society

Sarthak, a coded gifted student, has been attending a gifted school for the past 9 years. This has opened his eyes to the unique circumstances surrounding special education, particularly for those with unique learning needs. He’s the president of his school’s student council and has been actively involved in his school community, mentoring young students. This mentorship continued when he co-founded UNIFY, a non-profit that aims to ease the transition for refugee and immigrant youth when entering the school system. During his time on council, Sarthak aims to learn more about student mental health support and altered curriculum development for those with special needs.

Sheena Noskey, Grande Prairie, Grande Prairie Public School District

Sheena Noskey is 16 and lives with her parents and 4 siblings. Sheena is ambitious, energetic and passionate about everything she does. She enjoys horseback riding, volunteering in her community and is interested in theatre. Sheena grew up in Loon River, a small First Nations community in Alberta where she went to school and volunteered at her local church. Sheena and her family moved to Grande Prairie in 2017 where she continues her volunteer work at the Grande Prairie Alliance church and the Sexsmith library. Due to her inquisitive nature, Sheena skipped a grade and will be starting Grade 12 in the fall. She plans to continue her education by going to university and law school.

Sienna Dickson, Wetaskiwin, Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools

Sienna is a well-rounded student who enjoys theatre, singing, sports and leadership roles. She identifies as pansexual and is an advocate for LGBT+ rights. As a proud Salish First Nations woman, she wants to see more Indigenous subject matter in curriculum. Sienna is ecstatic about the opportunity to make a change with her unique perspectives.

Sofia Calderon, Edmonton, Edmonton Public School Board

Sofia represented Canada at the Junior Dragon Boat World Championships in France in 2017 as part of the national team. She travels each summer to Vancouver, British Columbia, to the most prestigious Dragon Boat Festival in North America to race with her home-team, Got Gainz (Edmonton) and her youth team, Crosswind (Vancouver). Sofia’s passion for citizenship endeavours has lead to multiple volunteering assignments. Her current volunteering undertaking helps her local MLA connect with her riding on issues, such as: representing citizens’ best interests, values and standards. Her passion for serving communities is now geared toward supporting schools in Alberta and their efforts to create new infrastructure related to active and healthy lifestyle values and ideas.

Tadhg Ho, Sherwood Park, Elk Island Public Schools

Tadhg is a transgender male who has been a part of a GSA for 4 years and enjoys learning and teaching about anything human rights-related. Going into his last year of high school, he enjoys debate (3 years of Model UN) and contributing to MYC (going on second term)! Tadhg is excited to learn the dynamic experiences of others in the pursuit of developing safety and curriculum in schools.

Tahir Natha, Calgary, Pembina Hills Public School Division

Tahir is a young entrepreneur who started his own company, Taza Collections at the age of 11 and finds passion in helping others. He has teamed up with the Calgary Women’s Shelter in hopes of raising funds to help those in need. In his free time, he loves to play golf and volunteer in his local Ismaili Community. Tahir is excited to be a part of the Ministers Youth Council and a part of our education system.

Tennille Daychief, Big Valley, East Central Alberta Catholic Schools

Tennille enjoys hockey, biking, hiking and dance. She is currently apprenticing at a hair salon in Jasper and completing her first 10-week period at MC College. Tennille is a strong advocate for anti-bullying and mental health awareness and enjoys volunteering. She started a local campaign to raise awareness for childhood cancer and launched a fundraiser to raise money for the 2015 Fort McMurray wildfires. She is excited to bring forth her ideas to the Minister’s Youth Council.

District-level councils

Some school authorities have district-level student councils. These are teams of students who represent the student population from elementary to high school. Usually, the councils work with their school authority leadership and board trustees on educational issues and topics that impact students.

Not only is a district-level student council another opportunity for student engagement, the councils provide meaningful input to school authorities and schools.

District-level councils play different roles depending on the level of engagement students have with system leadership, and on desired outcomes. Councils can:

  • serve an advisory role offering advice to school boards or senior leadership on policies or initiatives
  • help create policy or lead design projects at their schools
  • play a collaborative role with their school authorities by participating in decision-making processes

Regardless of the model or role, the intent is that students are able to provide input on initiatives that impact their educational experiences.

Setting up a council is a collaborative effort requiring support from school authority leaders, school leaders, teachers, parents and students.

Contact

To connect with the Student Engagement Team:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-644-8328
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: edc.studentengagement@gov.ab.ca