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2023 Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award Nominees!

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The Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Awards recognize First Nations, Métis and Inuit students who model strength and commitment in pursuing their education and who embrace their own gifts, strengths and potential while celebrating their cultures.

It is with great pride that we recognize our three student nominees for the 2023 school year:

MASON JOHNSTON, Onoway Jr/Sr High School, Grade 10

Mason is proud of his Inuit heritage and takes every opportunity to learn about and celebrate it. He has enrolled in the Aboriginal Studies course being offered at his school and is comfortable sharing his knowledge of his culture with others.

Mason is a very kind, respectful and well-rounded young man who is committed to working hard to achieve his goals. He is able to overcome obstacles in a way that strengthens him without letting them impact his plans for the future or the relationships he has with others.

Although Mason experiences some challenges with academics, he perseveres and is determined to be successful. He seeks out extra assistance and takes advantage of all support that is available to him.

Mason is a friend to all and has a great sense of humour. We wish him well as he represents Alberta in U19 baseball at the North American Indigenous Games being held in Halifax in July.

VADA SUNSHINE, Hillside Jr/Sr High School, Grade 11

Vada Sunshine has been nominated by Hillside Jr/Sr High School in Valleyview, where she is a Grade 11 student and resident of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation. 

Vada has proven that education is important to her. Evidence of this is that she was initially enrolled in a non-academic science class but recognized that this would not allow her to enroll in the post-secondary studies that she aspired to do. Vada then registered for and completed Science 10 attaining the highest final exam mark in her class. Her determination and hard work is to be commended.

Joining her school’s Travel Club was a great way for Vada to fulfill her thirst for knowledge and desire to learn and explore new adventures. She brings an open mind and inclusive approach to all situations and her passion for school spirit is contagious.

As an active member of her school’s Student Leadership Group, Vada takes the opportunity to celebrate and share knowledge about her culture. She is currently working closely with the Indigenous Support Teacher to connect Elders from her community to the school. By doing so, she is exhibiting a positive voice to both communities.

Vada has been courageous when faced with challenging situations which has been very inspirational to peers and adults alike. Vada is a talented artist and photographer who uses her gift to help improve her world. From donating a painting to a silent auction to creating a “We Scare Hunger” poster from her own photographs, she sees her role in making the change she wants to see in her world.

We can all learn something from Vada.

SUNSHYNE BROWN, Hilltop Jr/Sr High School, Grade 12

Sunshyne is a member of the Louis Bull Tribe and is proud to share her knowledge of her heritage with her peers. She is an active participant in Powwows and Indigenous celebrations and practices sweats, smudging and gratitude in her daily life.

Sunshyne inspires fellow students at Hilltop Jr/Sr High School as she works hard to achieve the many Calls to Action set forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

We wish Sunshyne well as she has already been accepted at Northern Lakes College for the fall of 2023 to pursue her goal of obtaining a degree in Social Work. 

Sunshyne’s kindness and her welcoming personality affords her many opportunities to make friends, demonstrate leadership skills and in turn, share her passion for acceptance of cultural diversity. 





National Indigenous Peoples Day Congratulations Class of 2023!