To borrow a cliché: the kids are all right.
Ten Nova Scotia students between grades 4 and 12, including four from HRM, were recognized at Province House on Thursday at the Premier’s Power of Positive Change awards for their work in the community.
“I feel pretty proud. I mean, I’ve had my struggles, but I’m proud to say that I’ve accomplished this,” said Spencer MacKay, a Grade 7 student at Park West School in Halifax.
Despite being confined to a wheelchair, he helped teach his best friend English, assists with the IWK’s Telethon and works at a local food bank.
“It was hard sometimes, to get my mom to drive me and everything, but you know, other than that, I’ve had a pretty good time of it,” said MacKay, who hopes to go from his wheelchair to a director’s chair in TV or film.
“It’s really surreal,” said award recipient Nam Ong, who is graduating from Citadel High School this year and plans to attend the University of Guelph in the fall for veterinary medicine.
“We’re doing all this stuff, we’re being rewarded, but we’re not doing it because we want to be rewarded.”
Ong left Vietnam for Halifax three years ago, and noticed that new and foreign students were struggling to fit in.
She created the Citadel Cultural Connection Committee, which organizes events like talent shows and food festivals to bring together all students, Canadian and foreign alike.
“Being a newcomer, I can really relate to other students who are coming in, and that’s what I’m really passionate about,” she said.
“When a young person finds what they’re truly passionate about, if they want to make a difference, if they want to be the change, that’s when they’ll start to care.”
Ira Archibald-Faloon, a Grade 8 student at Oxford Junior High School, and Claire Mercer, a Grade 4 student at Tantallon Elementary School, were the other two students from HRM selected out of a pool of about 80 nominees.
What they get…
The Premier’s Power of Positive Change award, which began last year to recognize two high school students who sold pink anti-bullying T-shirts, includes a certificate and a $2,000 bursary towards a post-secondary education.