A North Battleford student plans to voice her outlook on Indigenous education in Ottawa. 15-year-old Hailey Stone has been chosen as one of the 2019 Carriers of Hope for the upcoming Raised Voices Youth Education Policy Forum.
For three days, 36 First Nations youth from across the country will discuss and learn about the issues they face in the education system. The students will have a chance to come up with calls to action on First Nations Education and present them to leaders, policymakers and other allies.
Stone says she wants to see a boost in the percentage of Indigenous youth graduating. She believes that begins with a system that includes First Nations teachings.
“I’d hopefully like to change First Nations attitude on school and make them realize how important it is and how it is the start of your career. If we had a system that respects and supports indigenous ways like our culture and languages then First Nations would be more confident and not doubt themselves.”
“I truly believe that if First Nations youth have the motivation and support from role models then we would be able to see great change today.”
Stone says she is excited to soak up knowledge and discuss how to help First Nations youth from people she meets in Ottawa over the three-day conference. She says she wants to meet men and women who’ve impacted First Nations youth and show them what she is capable of doing.
“I decided to write an essay on why I am a role model to youth and adults, and who I am,” Stone says. She chose to write an essay instead of a video submission during the application process.
Stone, who is in Grade 10 at North Battleford Comprehensive High School, says she got word about two weeks ago that she was selected for the forum.
“I actually had missed the original call. When I found out I was literally screaming, and I was so excited, and I was trying to stay calm on the phone. Yeah, it was awesome.”
Stone says she was showered with texts and calls from family members congratulating her. She says her mom couldn’t stop shaking with excitement because she knew how important the forum is to her daughter.
The forum is hosted by the Assembly of First Nations. On its website, around 100 First Nations youth aged 14-18 applied to be a part. They will touch down in the nation’s capital on February 1-4, 2019.