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Leah Bae Leah Bae
Lord Byng Secondary School,
Vancouver, BC

Leah Bae Leah Bae
Lord Byng Secondary School,
Vancouver, BC

Leah is motivated by youth engagement and social activism. As president of the Vancouver District Students' Council, she represents 58,000 students in acting and speaking out on issues critical to the student population in her district. As part of her mandate, she organized a youth forum to respond to the Stanley Cup riot. The youth perspective contributed an important aspect to the city's final report.

Leah has mentored girls in Grade 7 through the YWCA to guide them in their transition to high school. She is also the principal violinist in her school's orchestra and is an advocate for the rights of minority groups. An avid promoter of the role of young people in the democratic process, she has been involved in various political campaigns and plans to pursue a career in international relations or public policy.


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David Beisel David Beisel
West Hill Secondary School,
Owen Sound, ON

David Beisel David Beisel
West Hill Secondary School,
Owen Sound, ON

David has a passion for music and performance. He is President of the Youth Theatre Coalition of Owen Sound, a non-profit theatre organization founded by students to provide a forum for youth to learn and perform. The organization is run entirely by individuals under the age of 20. David has participated as a writer, director, musician and choreographer. David also founded the Showcase Singers, a non-exclusionist vocal group that gives back to the community through public performances. He is very active in his school community, and is a competitor in Envirothon, volleyball and cross-country skiing.

David plans to pursue a career in musical theatre performance and direction.


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Claire Edwards Claire Edwards
McNally High School,
Edmonton, AB

Claire Edwards Claire Edwards
McNally High School,
Edmonton, AB

Alarmed by the environmental damage caused by disposable water bottles, Claire decided to do something about it. Along with a friend, she began an initiative to replace disposable plastic bottles with refillable bottles at her high school. In just a few months, approximately six thousand bottles were diverted from landfills. Continuing with this passion for water conservation, Claire founded an Amnesty International Club at her school and led a letter-writing campaign to promote the provision of clean drinking water in First Nations communities.

Since 2010, Claire has been inspired by and involved with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights. She works as a digital imaging specialist at Best Buy and is also active as a Legislative Page.

Claire plans to pursue a career as an international lawyer.


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Abby Emdin Abby Emdin
Nicholson Catholic College,
Picton, ON

Abby Emdin Abby Emdin
Nicholson Catholic College,
Picton, ON

As a member of a close, caring community, Abby learned by example to make the welfare of others a priority. In 2010, she co-founded World Without Worms in order to raise awareness and funds for school-based deworming programs in developing countries. The initiative has raised more than $16,000 to date, with chapters at schools and universities in Ontario and British Columbia. Abby serves as the co-president of her high school's Student Council and her Best Buddies' Chapter and has participated in two humanitarian trips to Jamaica. She was a 2011 National RIM/Shad Cup team member. She tutors students and volunteers at her local hospital and is a member of her school's soccer and ski teams.

Abby plans to pursue her interests in international medicine and research.


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Christopher Grouchy Christopher Grouchy
East Northumberland Secondary School,
Brighton, ON

Christopher Grouchy Christopher Grouchy
East Northumberland Secondary School,
Brighton, ON

Driven by his passion to empower youth to speak up, Chris created the Elementary Advisory Committee, providing more than 20,000 ambitious students with a forum to discuss issues in their education system. Through his role as student trustee, he has also led several conferences to inspire youth to get involved. Within his community, Chris established a student-driven magazine called "Leading to the Future."

As Public President of the Ontario Student Trustees' Association, he consults regularly with educational stakeholders and manages provincial initiatives with other Student Trustees. Chris is also the lead-guitarist in his band, Vinyl Skies, and performs at local fundraisers.

Chris hopes to pursue a career in International Law.


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Jennifer Hao Jennifer Hao
Burnaby North Secondary School,
Burnaby, BC

Jennifer Hao Jennifer Hao
Burnaby North Secondary School,
Burnaby, BC

With the belief that sustainable change starts by adapting the right mindset, Jennifer's goal is to inspire and empower other youth to give back. Jennifer co-founded the Burnaby Youth Sustainability Network, a unique district-wide organization in which schools across Burnaby collaboratively foster environmental stewardship in their communities. She is a key driver behind her city's annual student sustainability conference.

Jennifer also co-founded Youth4Tap, which successfully introduced water-bottle refilling stations into schools across the district. She is the Vice President of her school's Amnesty International club and contributes to several other youth-driven organizations and events. She also takes great interest in art, film production, and youth entrepreneurship.


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Sajjad Jaffery Sajjad Jaffery
Dunbarton High School,
Pickering, ON

Sajjad Jaffery Sajjad Jaffery
Dunbarton High School,
Pickering, ON

Following an eye-opening trip to Pakistan, Sajjad was inspired to start a community-based organization called the Dunbarton Peace Project, which promotes peace and social justice. The group, which works to increase awareness and raise funds for impoverished global communities, has more than 100 supporters. It has built ties with organizations such as Free the Children, Pennies for Peace and KIVA micro financing, and has teamed up with a local elementary school and York University.

Sajjad is the co-president of his school's environment group, where he has helped start many initiatives, including an outdoor classroom, butterfly garden and recycling programs. He is currently the head delegate of his Model United Nations chapter, has volunteered in his local hospital and is an avid sports fan. Sajjad hopes to continue to pursue his passion as a humanitarian and aims to become an endocrinologist.


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Marc-André Marc-André Jean-Montenegro
Cégep de Sorel-Tracy,
Sorel-Tracy, QC

Marc-André Marc-André
Jean-Montenegro?Cégep de Sorel-Tracy,
Sorel-Tracy, QC

In his first year of Cégep, Marc-André launched a fair-trade project at Sorel-Tracy college. The project was affiliated with Oxfam and was the first organized in a Cégep. It all started with a simple booth and an awareness campaign that eventually led to the opening of a store in December 2011.

Marc-André is also the president of his Cégep's student council, where he is mentoring a new generation of student leaders. He belongs to a champion Reach for the Top team and sits as a student rep on his Cégep's administrative council. He is a recipient of the Lieutenant Governor's Youth Medal and plans to study business administration and pursue work on social economy initiatives.


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Benjamin Jones Benjamin Jones
Moira Secondary School,
Belleville, ON

Benjamin Jones Benjamin Jones
Moira Secondary School,
Belleville, ON

After overcoming adversity and a number of learning challenges, Ben wanted to establish a safe and supportive space for all teens. With funding from the Healthy Communities Fund and his municipality, Benjamin established the Youth Belleville Centre — a drop-in program to give Belleville youth a positive way to express themselves, meet new people, and find a place where they belong in a setting that is free from prejudice, bullying and violence while encouraging healthy choices and promoting community engagement.

He is co-chair of Change the World Youth Challenge Committee Belleville and a member of student council. More recently, Ben has created an inclusion club at his school to promote acceptance among all students.


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Joey Loi Joey Loi
St. Brother Andre Catholic High School,
Markham, ON

Joey Loi Joey Loi
St. Brother Andre Catholic High School,
Markham, ON

Combining his interests in entrepreneurship, youth engagement and ending poverty, Joey founded "Turn the Page" — an incorporated non-profit organization that hosts conferences, presentations, and workshops to bring together students, schools, and NGOs to support education initiatives in developing nations. He has also been a long-serving member of the Mayor's Youth Task Force in Markham, an organization that advances opportunities for young people and actively contributes to a thriving youth community.

Following his experience on the Students on Ice Arctic expedition, Joey became an avid environmental activist and joined the Youth Environmental Network of York Region. Joey's dream is to create innovative solutions for the world's most pressing issues through social entrepreneurship.


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Samantha Manner Samantha Manner
West Hill Secondary School,
Owen Sound, ON

Samantha Manner Samantha Manner
West Hill Secondary School,
Owen Sound, ON

Combining her passion for the environment and the belief that everyone can create positive change, Samantha founded the Green Group at her school. The group now runs a number of initiatives, including tree-planting school grounds, composting, a kitchen garden for the culinary class, and a recycling-awareness program.

Samantha cares deeply about human rights and has been involved in many anti-bullying initiatives. Committed to preventing impaired driving, she and is a member of Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving (OSAID).

Samantha has run track for five years and enjoys swimming. She plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine at the University of Guelph.


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Charles-Auguste Marois Charles-Auguste Marois
Collège Francois-Xavier-Garnier,
Thetford Mines, Quebec

Charles-Auguste Marois Charles-Auguste Marois
Collège Francois-Xavier-Garnier,
Thetford Mines, Quebec

Charles founded the K Club, a student offshoot of the Kiwanis Club. His chapter organized a used-clothing pick-up drive and later had a garment try-out session for underprivileged children in Thetford Mines. They also organized a winter carnival for kids from five local grade schools.

This same group contributed to the organization of Family Day, an event that brought in some 3,000 people! Along the way, Charles found time to write a novel on the difficulties faced by young homosexuals, even as he took part in the development of Garneau Travail, a school-based agency created and maintained by college students.


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Melissa Morrison Melissa Morrison
Eric Hamber Secondary School,
Vancouver, BC

Melissa Morrison Melissa Morrison
Eric Hamber Secondary School,
Vancouver, BC

A member of the Namgis First Nation of Alert Bay, Melissa founded Four Directions, her school's first Aboriginal Culture group. The group plans to host the school's first Aboriginal Cultural Day Celebration and hopes to encourage schools across Vancouver to host their own celebrations.

Melissa is co-president of the Compassionate Leadership Club, which runs an annual food drive and has raised more than $3,000 to build a well in China.

Melissa recently completed a documentary on First Nations youth. An avid athlete, she participates in volleyball, basketball, cross-country and track and field in both her school and local community.


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Kali O'Dell Kali O'Dell
Kennebecasis Valley High School,
Quispamsis, NB

Kali O'Dell Kali O'Dell
Kennebecasis Valley High School,
Quispamsis, NB

When there was no one to speak for the victims of drunk-driving accidents, Kali stepped up to the task. She shared the story of her own family's experience through extensive public speaking, MADD public service announcements and a MADD school assembly program. She also co-founded Teens Against Drunk Driving (TADD) at her school.

Kali volunteers at a local dog groomer and enjoys musical theatre. She is an active member of Kidsing, a year-long performance school that teaches children and youth to act, sing and dance.


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Eva Olynyk Eva Olynyk
Gulf Islands Secondary School,
Salt Spring Island, BC

Eva Olynyk Eva Olynyk
Gulf Islands Secondary School,
Salt Spring Island, BC

Eva has instituted a wide range of new programs to give students a greater voice in school and community affairs, adding a homeroom representation system to the school, starting a student advocacy system to mediate problems between students and teachers, and reviving the position of student representatives on the school board and local government bodies. She has worked with the community to host influential speakers for various events, including the all-candidates' debates for both the last federal election and the 2011 school board trustees' election.

Eva wants to pursue a career in International Relations, with the belief that solving the world's problems starts with understanding other cultures, and hopes to have a career abroad.


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Aaron Stevens Aaron Stevens
Auburn Drive High School,
Dartmouth, NS

Aaron Stevens Aaron Stevens
Auburn Drive High School,
Dartmouth, NS

Aaron is dedicated to helping make Nova Scotia a safer place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and helping other youth get resources and support to fight homophobia and transphobia in their schools and communities. Aaron worked with The Youth Project to connect Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools across he province, has led two very successful GSA conferences, and has established various resources for GSAs.

Aaron has been a co-chair of his school's GSA for the past three years. He is also very active in several other anti-bullying, health promotion and diversity initiatives. Aaron is a Metro Co-Premier for the Nova Scotia Secondary School Students Association (NSSSA) and hopes to pursue a career in human rights and international affairs.


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Donovan Taplin Donovan Taplin
St. Michael's Regional High School,
Bell Island, NL

Donovan Taplin Donovan Taplin
St. Michael's Regional High School,
Bell Island, NL

In his small island town, Donovan is a champion of community development. Following learning expeditions to the polar regions, Donovan started a community environmental group, the Green Island Society. The group has done clean-ups, tree plantings, and presentations to local schools on Bell Island. In Grade 9, to counter the poor reputation of youth in the community, Donovan joined friends in co-founding Team Teen, a youth group for social justice.

Donovan is a lead broadcaster and producer at Radio Bell Island, where he works hard to invoke a sense of community through radio. He enjoys being active with Student Council and the Newspaper Club and is a member of the Students on Ice Alumni Delegation for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.


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Chloé Trépanier Chloé Trépanier
Cégep du Vieux Montréal,
Montreal, Quebec

Chloé Trépanier Chloé Trépanier
Cégep du Vieux Montréal,
Montreal, Quebec

Breaking the isolation of young LGBTs, demystifying homosexuality and combating homophobia are among the various objectives guiding Chloé's community involvement. During the 2010-11 school year, Chloé was among a group of students who brought their college's sexual diversity committee back to life. Before that time, three separate LGBT committees had gone out of existence. After starting out as the committee's treasurer, Chloé is now its chairperson.

She is also very involved with Jeunesse Lambda, an organization run for and by gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning youths from the Montreal area. At Lambda, she works as both treasurer and moderator. In high school, Chloé volunteered as a tutor in a homework assistance program, and represented her class in the graduates' committee.


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Darren Touch Darren Touch
Western Canada High School,
Calgary, AB

Darren Touch Darren Touch
Western Canada High School,
Calgary, AB

Darren has dedicated himself to bringing awareness to and educating youth about social issues so they can play a real part in changing the world. He has brought new energy and attracted new participants to a number of his school's clubs.

He initiated a human rights film festival to the school's Amnesty International group and, as co-president, doubled the numbers of active participants in his school's environmental group. He also serves as co-chairperson of the Youth of Distinction Awards and Assistant Secretary of the Khmer Youth Association to promote the idea of youth empowerment in our society.

Darren plans to pursue a career in International Relations, with the goal of eventually working for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.


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Paige Zwicker Paige Zwicker
Lockview High School,
Fletcher's Lake, NS

Paige Zwicker Paige Zwicker
Lockview High School,
Fletcher's Lake, NS

Sparked with a passion to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children, Paige initiated and participated in various programs in her local area, including a Leadership Development Program focused on giving at-risk, disadvantaged youth the opportunity to realize their natural strengths and previously unidentified potential, enabling them to develop into strong, positive leaders in their community. In 2009, Paige volunteered with Free Flight, a non-profit organization in rural Brazil that provides education and skills training for the poorest of Brazil's citizens.

In addition to her work with children, Paige is co-president of her students' council, organizes many fundraisers for local and international charity organizations, volunteers at local food banks and soup kitchens, and sits on the Volunteer Board of her local Community Center.

Paige plans to pursue a career in paediatric medicine with the goal of providing care to children in underserviced areas.