Annual workshop expands to include high school students

Louise Bernice Halfe and Brett Enns wait on stage as post-secondary students find their seats before the “For Saskatchewan’s Next Generation of Leaders Workshop” begins. -- Bailey Sutherland/Daily Herald

A special workshop for post-secondary and high school students from Prince Albert and the North is coming to the EA Rawlinson Centre on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

The “For Saskatchewan’s Next Generation of Leaders Workshop” aims to help and thank post-secondary students. This is the eighth Interprofessional Leadership Symposium for Prince Albert and northern post-secondary students.

This year’s speakers included Lieutenant Governor Russell Mirasty, Intergenerational Residential School Trauma Specialist and First Nations Children’s Advocate Deanna LeDoux and Manager of Acute Mental Health with the SHA Adam Pearson.

SUNTEP student Santanna DeBray will be the emcee for the afternoon. DeBray said she’s eager to take part.

“I’m excited to see what the Lieutenant Governor has to say, but also what Deanna and Adam have to say because they’re also a huge factor to mental health and Indigenous students as well,” DeBray said.

January and February are some of the most difficult months for mental health issues with the student population. The symposium aims to help support students as they prepare to be leaders for the future. It also gives them an opportunity to come together, learn more about resilience and leadership, and support of each other and their communities.

Workshop topics come from post-secondary students themselves. They have a post-secondary student advisory committee that helped organize the event, and identify topics and issues students deal with daily.

DeBray said this year they have invited high school students. She has been telling them the symposium lets those students know support is available at post-secondary institutions.

“When they need to reach out, they can reach out to any of these people and then also take into consideration some of the words that will be shared through the event from the speakers,” DeBray said.

She said that they will be able to learn about resilience, leadership and what they can do in their communities.

“They can take it back with them and maybe start any programs or start to think ahead for their youth or the next generation coming after them,” she said.

She said that the post-secondary students can also pay it forward when they return to their communities.

Last year’s speakers included Canada’s former Poet Laureate Dr. Louise Halfe, Susan Aglukark, Chief Cadmus Delorme and Mental Health expert Brett Enns. Debray said that she attended and learned a lot.

Roughly 500 students attended the 2023 event. DeBray said that they are expecting the same number or more with the addition of high school students.

DeBray said they invited high school students so they know that supports are available at all of the post-secondary institutions in Prince Albert.

“It’s a very good opportunity and a really good way to showcase that the students are recognised,” she said. “We see their efforts through school. They’re going to be the next leaders, and are going to be the next ones that are going to be hopefully running this this province.”