Akins student joins minister’s council

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Cayanga to advise on education policy

A Lorne Akins student has been tapped to advise the education minister on the future of Alberta’s school system later this year.

Alberta Education released the names of the 32 members of the Minister’s Youth Council last June 29. Some 232 junior and senior high students from across Alberta applied to join the volunteer panel earlier this year.

The panel is meant to give students a chance to weigh in on education in Alberta, particularly the ongoing curriculum review, said Lindsay Harvey, press secretary for Education Minister David Eggen. Students will meet with the minister three times a year during their 10-month terms, in addition to other online meetings. Students in this inaugural council will help set the group’s mandate and terms of reference.

The students on this panel are artists, athletes, volunteers, entrepreneurs and community organizers from a variety of educational backgrounds, Eggen said in a press statement.

“These incredible young people are united in their passion for education and their desire to ensure that every Alberta student is given the best opportunities for success.”

Lorne Akins Grade 8 student Declan Cayanga was one of the people named to the panel. A student council member, he said he applied to join the panel because he liked being a student leader.

“I’m excited to be one of the 32 people that are going to help improve our education system, and I’d like to make it better for everybody.”

The lifelong St. Albert resident said he was most interested in making the education system more inclusive to special needs students and placing more emphasis on the practical use of education.

“Some of the stuff we’re learning, we really don’t know where we’re going to use it later on,” he said, with some of his peers, citing Social Studies as an example.

While he was okay with the Math curriculum as it was, Cayanga said the province should include more current events in Social and update its textbooks, some of which had photos of 1980s-style “brick” cellphones. He encouraged students to contact him if they had ideas to convey to the minister.

The first scheduled meeting of the council is Sept. 29 in Edmonton. See education.alberta.ca/myc for details.

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Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.