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Indigenous students to learn and connect at conference

Inspiring Success Youth Conference

More than 60 Indigenous youth from Red Deer Public Schools will take part in a conference this month that allows them to learn, connect, and be inspired by Indigenous leaders in their community.

The third annual Inspiring Success Youth Conference will take place on April 11 at Red Deer Polytechnic’s Arts Centre.

Grade 8 students from across five school divisions will have the opportunity to meet new friends who they will attend high school with, reconnect with peers in their current school, and build a deeper sense of strength, belonging, identity, and pride in their Indigenous heritage.

“It is deeply impactful to bring young Indigenous students together to meet new friends, learn about their culture and be inspired by Indigenous mentors,” said Hayley Christen, Learning Services Coordinator with Red Deer Public Schools. “The event is held at Red Deer Polytechnic so students can get a feel for what post-secondary education could be like for them. I hope the day inspires the students to dream big, and get excited about their futures.”

During the event, youth will participate in different sessions covering a variety of topics, including tipi teachings, Metis finger weaving, Elder protocol and tobacco teachings, and Indigenous games. Participants will also have the opportunity to hear the personal journeys of several Indigenous Red Deer Polytechnic students, and listen to encouraging words from local Elders, so that they can continue to build community connections. There will also be exhibitors on site who provide local services to youth.

Keynote speaker Dallas Soonias, the first Indigenous player on a national volleyball team, will deliver an inspirational message to students to close out the day.

“It’s going to be a great day that continues to build connections for Indigenous youth, while allowing them to see potential for their future,” said Hayley.

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