PACI student chosen for Saskatchewan Youth Council

Tia-Lee McCallum of the Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI) and the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division was selected for this year’s Saskatchewan Youth Council. / Photo Courtesy PACI

Recently the Saskatchewan Government announced the members of the Saskatchewan Youth Council and one Prince Albert student was selected.  Prince Albert Collegiate Institute (PACI) Grade 11 student Tia-Lee McCallum was one of the 12 students from across the province selected for the second year of the program.

The provincial Youth Council was formed by the Minister of Education to provide direction and leadership on how to engage students on a variety of topics.  McCallum explained that she learned she was chosen in mid-July when she woke up to the news.

“I woke up from my sleep and I checked my phone and I got an email from them saying congratulations you are part of the Youth Council and I was just waking up,” McCallum said.

Members of the provincial Youth Council work directly with the Minister of Education and other government officials to identify issues and topics of importance related to the key elements of the provincial education plan.

The 16-year-old McCallum was nominated during the last school year and filled out the forms in a short period of time before having PACI principal Dave Lokinger sign.

She has large goals for herself and sees this as another stop towards completing them.

“Part of me wants to go into politics but I want to be a doctor. But for politics I want to help aboriginals all over because I am Cree myself and I want to make life better for basically all of my family,” McCallum said.

She was initially chosen by Saskatchewan Rivers School Division as the representative and applied before having a phone interview. Of the three council meetings so far, all have been done online. McCallum expects that to be the case until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

 “Basically we are focusing on the four pillars of education and we are trying to figure out what we want to focus on and how we are going to do it. Right now we are still in the planning stage of figuring out what we are going to provide to the summit. Now it is more just talking to each other, plan and then we are going to get a general idea in November,” McCallum said.

McCallum has volunteered at Victoria Hospital, Mont St. Joseph care home, Christina’s Art School and many more organizations around Prince Albert.

At the school level, McCallum is involved in as many clubs as she can be. During the prior school year she served as a shadow president of the Student Leadership Council (SLC) because she was not old enough to run. Her friend was the president and she acted as an advisor.

“If he was running out of ideas to say or if he got really quiet and shy I would be like so how about this topic and I always helped him with that. I also helped the Principal out with a lot of things, so I was kind of a shadow,” McCallum said.

She has many awards for different achievements, ranging from academic to leadership to the fine arts.

According to a biography provided by the province, she is passionate about creating a better education system that helps students confront difficulties and prepare for the road ahead. Her life experiences have made her determined to make school life better for students who face personal problems. McCallum possesses a wide range of skills and the ability to examine problems from different perspectives. She knows how to listen and work well with others, and has many ideas about how to make plans in critical situations – all of which can prove useful to the Youth Council.

McCallum also noted that she is in the process of trying to be on the Prime Minister’s Youth Council but that membership hasn’t been confirmed.

“I am one of the applicants, I did  my interview and I did my resume and everything so I am just kind of waiting. Maybe I will get in, maybe I won’t, but either way it is still a great opportunity that they are actually considering to have me on there,”  McCallum said.