A Fort Saskatchewan teenager will be lending her voice to upcoming discussions about how to make life better for students in Alberta’s schools.
Sixteen-year-old Anika Lukie is one of 33 junior and senior high school students recently chosen from across the province to take part in the 2018-19 Alberta Education Minister’s Youth Council. The young people will meet three times in the new school year to share their insights about issues affecting students in Alberta with the ultimate goal of helping to improve the province’s education system.
Lukie, who’ll be starting Grade 12 at St. Andre Bessette Catholic School in September, applied for a spot on the council to bring attention to the intolerance and bullying she said she’s seen happening too often throughout her years as a student.
“Walking through the halls and during school, after school, in between classes, I see and hear a lot of racism and sexism and homophobia and transphobia as well as many other things that shouldn't be a part of our school system,” she said.
It was back in elementary school that Lukie -- after witnessing a number of upsetting incidents of bullying -- realized that for some kids, school wasn’t always a safe or comfortable place to be. The problem isn’t unique to schools or to Alberta, she added, pointing to recent discussions about racism and sexism taking place across society.
“I think that if we can bring that discussion to the table within Alberta Education, it might make some positive change.”
Lukie knows from personal experience how important it is for students to have a sense of belonging and acceptance at school, things she's found as member of St. John Paul II high school’s fine arts program. Classmates in her drama and musical theatre courses have become like family, she said.
“It's just my place that I really enjoy.”
With a year left in high school, Lukie has started making making plans for the future. She’ll be attending university after she graduates, with the goal of completing a political science degree and possibly one day becoming a human rights lawyer.