By Jean Murray
Amid the lively chaos of Activities Night, a group of young student leaders arrived at McGill University’s Faculty Club for an evening of celebration on Tuesday, Sept. 8. These 22 students were the applicants and winners of the first-ever McGill High School Community Leadership Award. Offered by the Social Equity and Diversity Education Office (SEDE) in partnership with Enrolment Services, this award recognizes the leadership, initiative and innovation of Grade 10 students in their school and wider communities across Montreal.
Four students were awarded the top prize of an Acer laptop for demonstrating excellence in leadership and community engagement. These four students – Nicholas Styres from Kahnawake Survival School, Chloe Polson from Lasalle Community Comprehensive High School, Cristina Mignacca from Lester B. Pearson High School, and Nova Orchid Hagel-Georgeson from FACE School – showed a strong commitment to their communities through leadership in sports, robotics, the performing arts and environmentalism.
All of the applicants, however, were outstanding community leaders, and all received prizes thanks to the generous donations from the Montreal Alouettes, McGill Athletics, the McGill Bookstore and the Tomlinson Project. The awards dinner was a chance to celebrate all that they had achieved. “It was such an amazing experience, just getting to apply, and made us realize things about ourselves that we had never seen before,” said winner Cristina Mignacca. “I know that, for me at least, the mere application process was a confidence booster, because I had never given myself credit for the many things I do in my school.”
Parents, teachers, principals, and school board representatives were all in attendance to congratulate the winners, as well as all the applicants. “It was so great to see so many community members come to support these fantastic young people,” said SEDE’s Associate Director Veronica Amberg. “They have put so much of themselves into their community involvement, and that deserves to be recognized.”