Safe and Accepting Schools

    The recipients of the 2015 Individual Respectful Citizenship Awards are:

    Hailey Thomas, Prince Andrew High School, Dartmouth
    Hailey is a Grade 12 student at Prince Andrew High School. Over the course of six months, Hailey organized and facilitated a conference to raise awareness of human trafficking in Canada. The conference was so well organized it received media attention, she was contacted by other high schools to learn from her experience and received widespread praise from community organizations for her efforts.

    Hailey Handspiker-Wade, Digby Regional High School, Digby
    Hailey is a Grade 12 student at Digby Regional High School. Hailey was instrumental in resurrecting the school’s Gay Straight Alliance group, is a founding member of the Anime Club, and an active member of the Me to We Group. Hailey also played a key role in the Anti-Violence Youth Theatre Stand Up and Take Notice program.

    Brynn Lowe, Port Maitland Consolidated Elementary, Yarmouth
    Brynn is a Grade 6 student at Port Maitland Consolidated School in Yarmouth. When a school mate lost her home in a fire, Brynn mobilized her school community in fundraising to support this young girl’s family. Brynn organized school events, engaged with her community and took to social media – all in an effort to raise money for this family. Brynn was also instrumental in supporting her friend as she returned to school.

    Andrew Son, Halifax Grammar School, Halifax
    Andrew is a Grade 10 student at Halifax Grammar School. As an advocate of music and as concertmaster of the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, Andrew is dedicated to enhancing school and community events by sharing his passion for music. Andrew is a talented musician who is always ready to support an event at school and has also performed for patients, families and staff at the IWK Health Centre on several occasions.

    Nykola Killam, Liverpool Regional High School, Liverpool
    Nykola is a Grade 12 student at Liverpool High School. Inspired by her late cousin’s swim across the Northumberland Strait for charity while battling cancer, Nykola created ‘The Ripple Effect”. This program teaches Grade 2 students water safety and basic swimming skills. Nykola worked in partnership with a wide range of community stakeholders to implement this successful program including the RCMP, the Region of Queens and many more.

    Shawnee Paul, Allison Bernard Memorial High School, Eskasoni
    Shawnee is a Grade 12 student at Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni. Shawnee is widely recognized by community leaders as a positive role model for First Nations Youth. She takes great pride in sharing her Mi’kmaw culture and language in school and in the wider community. Shawnee is an active member of the student council at her school, a founding member of the first Interact Club on a First Nations community, a member of the community theater group, a talented fiddler and a volunteer swimming instructor.

    Katie LeBlanc-Boudreau, École Beau-Port, Arichat - Ouest
    Katie is a Grade 2 student at École Beau-Port. Katie has developed a tremendous sense of social justice at a very young age. Katie stands up for what she believes is right, remains calm in difficult situations and regularly speaks up for those in need. She is always ready to listen to a friend or peer and helps all students equally.

    Mary Clarissa MacLean, Cobequid Educational Centre, Valley
    Mary is a Grade 11 student at Cobequid Educational Centre. Mary is described by many as being a natural leader and a consummate team player. Mary mentors aspiring athletes, empowers students with special needs, spearheaded an initiative to help alleviate hunger at her school along with a many other day-to-day acts of kindness.

    Matthew Bond, Sydney Mines Junior High, North Sydney
    Matthew is a Grade 8 student at Sydney Mines Junior High. As the first openly transgender student at his school, Matthew has raised awareness of the issues facing transgendered students with teachers, students and the administration. Matthew has initiated many positive changes that has made his school a safer and more accepting space for trans and LGBTQ youth including taking the lead on the school’s first gender neutral bathroom, changing the name of the Gay Straight alliance to be more inclusive and advocating for himself on several occasions. Matthew’s strength and courage has inspired the whole school to work towards a more inclusive environment for everyone.

    MacKenzie Cook, Guysborough Academy, Guysborough
    MacKenzie is a Grade 12 student at Guysborough Academy. She is a member of the several committees, facilitates a school based violence prevention programs and supports young women to explore careers in science, trades and technology as an alumna of Techsploration. Mackenzie also recently facilitated a presentation at a Youth Health Forum to 180 participants from Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia.

    Meghan Hale, Horton High School, Kentville
    Meghan is a Grade 12 student at Horton High School. Last year Meghan and Allison Cusack (graduated June 2014) researched and wrote a Trans* Inclusion Policy for their school. The policy was approved by the principal and has had a significant impact in her school. As a leader in the Resect for Diversity group, Peer Sex Education group and Gay Straight Alliance, Meghan has educated others on the policy and the challenges experienced by trans and intersex youth at school.

    The recipients of the 2015 Team Respectful Citizenship Awards are:

    Drops of Hope Destination Imagination Team, Halifax Regional School Board
    Members: Megan MacDonald, Genevieve MacDonald, Olivia Colaiacovo, Lauren Regan, Sara James, Megan Rennie and Maria Sotiropoulos

    Starting in Grade 7, seven students from Caledonia Junior High came together with other students to develop an innovative anti-bullying program in their school that involved staff, students, and the administration. When these seven students moved on to Grade 8, they focused their attention on promoting girls’ participation in sports. They encouraged local businesses and sports teams to support their efforts and contribute to a sports scholarship fund for girls in their community. When in Grade 9, they organized a public awareness campaign on the need for new blood donors in their community.

    Keep the Promise, Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board
    Members: Adam MacLean and Joella MacIsaac

    Founding members of the Cape Breton Chapter of the anti-poverty initiative Keep the Promise, Adam MacLean and Joella MacIsaac are Grade Six students at Greenfield Elementary. They returned from a national poverty summit in Ottawa, inspired and determined to end poverty. Adam and Joella organized a number of events such as Coats for Kids, a rally at their school, plans for a summit in the spring for all schools in the CBVRSB, and collections for the local food bank and combined Christmas giving. Through the attention they have gained by local and provincial politicians, organizations, and media, Adam and Joella have ensured the voices of youth have been heard. Their determination, compassion, and leadership skills, have inspired others to take up the cause to end child poverty.

    Kindness Day Team, South Shore Regional School Board
    Members: Emmalee Harvey and Natalie Baker

    Emmalee Harvey and Natalie Baker are Grade 8 students at New Ross Consolidated School. In an effort to tackle the issue of bullying in their school, Emmalee and Natalie came up with the concept of “Kindness Day”. Using creative concepts such as the “kindness clothesline”, their goal was to have staff and students take a moment to celebrate daily acts of kindness that can help create an environment where all students feel safe and valued.

    RCMP – SAERC Youth Council, Strait Regional School Board
    Members: Kyle Landry, Breah Sampson-MacDonald, Brianna MacDonald, Stephanie Grimard, Morgan Bona, Jordan Delaney, Hayley Thompson

    This Youth Council is comprised of students who expressed interest in assisting the RCMP in crime prevention and are selected based on recommendations from school administration and staff. The students have made a difference in the area of healthy relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, cyber safety, bullying, and volunteerism through classroom sessions, lectures, and larger assemblies. With the creation of a Cinema Group in the school auditorium, they have provided a safe and fun entertainment option for youth and adults in Port Hawkesbury. They also raise funds to support community groups and youth engagement.

    Best Friends for Lunch, Annapolis Valley Regional School Board
    Members: Monique Silver & Micaela Murphy

    Monique Silver and Micaela Murphy are Grade 12 students at Horton High School. They are among the founding members and student leaders of “Best Friends for Lunch”, a friendship group led by students for students. The group provides a place and social connection for anyone who, for a variety of reasons, may be feeling left out, lonely, without company. The lives of many students have been profoundly changed by their involvement with the group, having exchanged frustration and despair for optimism and hope.