Atessa Flamand is 18 years old and is a senior at Belmont Secondary School. She enjoys playing sports especially volleyball which she has done for the past 7 years. She loves being with her family and friends. Atessa's favourite subjects in school are english and business and she hopes to pursue them both in college and a future job.
Cam Gray is a teacher, children and youth programmer, and outdoor educator. He graduated from the old Belmont Secondary in 2007 where he co-founded School District 62's annual canned food drive, '10,000 tonight'. Since graduating, Cam has remained actively involved with leadership and community organizing projects across the West Shore, and has pursued dual degrees in International Development and Elementary Education from the University of Ottawa and the University of Victoria. Cam teaches the Grade 7 Late French Immersion class at École John Stubbs Memorial School in Colwood, and is proud to continue to work with diverse youth from across our community.
Dayna has been teaching for the past twenty years and has happily taken her kids outside every year. She believes that the most impactful teaching experiences happen outside the classroom and is a strong proponent of teaching in the outdoors. As an outdoor educator, social studies, world religions and social justice teacher, Dayna will discuss the amazing aspects of teaching outside the box.
Dr. Chris Kilford
President of the Canadian International Council (Victoria Branch)
Chris Kilford served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 36 years, his last post as the Canadian Defence Attaché to Turkey from July 2011 until August 2014. He retired in September 2014. In addition to his military service, he completed a PhD in history at Queen’s University in 2009. Today, he is an External Fellow with the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy, a Research Fellow with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, a member of the national board of the Canadian International Council and president of the Victoria Branch, a sessional professor with the Royal Military College and also the Canadian Forces College teaching distance learning courses focused on political geography and global powers and institutions. His articles and opinion pieces on Canadian defence and foreign policy issues plus Turkish and Middle Eastern matters have appeared in numerous Canadian and international publications.
LGBTQ2+ and Mental Health Advocate
EJ Weston is an 18 year old LGBTQ2+ and Mental Health advocate and presenter in the Westshore. They created Westshore’s first every community Queer Straight Alliance in 2016, and they recently coordinated the 3rd annual Start the Conversation Conference, a mental health awareness conference. They are a level 2 Sexual Health Ambassador and are currently studying Children’s Mental Health and Diversity and Intercultural Relations at Durham College.
Seventeen year old activist Lia Rozenbloom Holla is a senior student who has devoted much of her time in high school to social justice and activism. Her commitment to social advocacy and political awareness is clear from her contributions to the nuclear disarmament movement to engaging youth in politics through insightful discussions to spending her 7 weeks of her summer as a volunteer at a social justice summer camp. Over the course of this year she has co-founded The Youth Campaign to Abolish Nuclear weapons (YCAN), co-Organized the Victoria March for Our Lives rally and become president of Esquimalt Students Caring About Peace and the Environment. She is an active member of Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament network and co-founder of Youth Political Commons. Lia is a Yale Young Global Scholar alumna and will be attending McGill to study biochemistry and international relations after she graduates this June.
Magritte Gordaneer is a senior high-school student who has devoted many years to social justice and activism. Whether contributing to the anti-nuclear movement or working to have more insightful discussions in schools, she has been busy helping close gaps in youth’s knowledge about politics and world issues. At fifteen she co-founded Youth Political Commons, and at seventeen co-founded the Youth Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. She’s worked with organizations such as the March For Our Lives movement as well as the Vancouver Island Peace and Disarmament Network. Graduating this June, she will be going on to pursue post-secondary studies in the Fall.
Musician and so much more
Maria Manna is a vocalist, producer, humanitarian, business owner, author and Ordained Minister. She has helped raise over $750 million for charities with her performances and fundraising.
Maria has created, produced and performed in Ladies of Blues, Jazz and Gospel, Victoria Gospel Music Festival, Vancouver Island’s Got Talent and “It’s Amore”, a tribute to Italian American Music and Comedy!
Her latest production “A Tribute to Natalie Cole” is quickly gaining notoriety across the country and one of her greatest passion.
Maria is the recipient of the 2013 Governor General Caring Canadian Award, an inductee in the Music Archives of Alberta, recipient of the 2013 Unlimited Woman of Style Award, and of the 2016 Governor General Sovereign Medal Award.
Maria has a bursary at the Victoria Conservatory of Music for children who are in socio-economic difficulties and want to study music.
She is a cofounder and president of U-JAMS (universal jazz advocates and mentors society).
Born in Montreal but raised on the Westcoast, Mason Enemark-Mullie is a Grade 10 student at Brockton School in North Vancouver. Mason is a passionate environmentalist, working with the David Suzuki Foundation and the District of North Vancouver on local environmental initiatives that improve our local and global communities. Mason is an engaged member of the World Music Program, a group of musicians who play African Marimbas. As music transcends all languages and cultures, the World Music Program performs locally and internationally, inspiring and giving back to communities around the world.
Police Officer + Founder of Youth for Change and Inclusion
In 2003, after securing funding from Canadian Heritage & Coast Capital Savings and with the assistance of three school districts, local police departments, Paul ran the first Youth for Change and Inclusion (YCI) Camp, which brought together 68 students, teachers and police officers. Since then, the Victoria Police Department agreed to help support funding with in partnership with Coast Capital Savings.
To this day, Paul, with the assistance of many youth, police agencies and staff, runs the annual four day conference which brings together opportunities for youth to learn about bullying and violence, creating understanding of the consequences of actions and inaction, inspiring potential future leaders, building school-based groups to effect change, and building bridges between youth and police. Over 1000 youth have been through the camp and for many it has been life altering.
SD62 Board Chair
Ravi Parmar is an elected School Trustee and Chairperson of the Sooke School District Board of Education. Prior to his election as a Trustee, Ravi was a student activist, advocating for the building of two new high schools in the Westshore, a group of communities close to Victoria, BC. Ravi is currently finishing his undergraduate degree in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Victoria. A staunch advocate for the public education system, Ravi remembers what it was like in BC schools and brings this knowledge to his role in the Board of Education.
Rev. Allen Tysick
Founder of the Victoria Dandelion Society
Known as “Rev Al” by Victoria’s street community, Reverend Allen Tysick has been committed to the streets – where his heart and “family” are – for over 40 years. He is the former executive director of Our Place Society and has since founded the Victoria Dandelion Society as of April 2011 as a way to carry his work on the front lines into the future.
Every morning, he hits the streets at 5:30am with coffee, muffins, and whatever warm supplies he has. While those who sleep outside are awakened by the sounds of an awakening city, Al is there to make sure everyone has a safe and welcoming start to their day. He spends the rest of his day going from hospitals, jails and residencies, helping those he visits in whatever they need. Wherever he is, Al reminds people that they matter. He treats marginalized persons with dignity and respect by offering them the best of his compassion, hope and care.
My name is Tia Arseneault. I am currently 18 years old, and graduating from Belmont Secondary with honours this year. I have three brothers (two younger and one older.) I am a competitive swimmer, skier, and hockey player. I am an AVID student, I enjoy writing, and love to read. I currently hold four jobs, attend school, go to swim practice, and play hockey. I am very busy, but on June 2nd I’ll be making time for a special presentation for all of you. During my presentation I’d like to share my story with you, a story about change and how it impacted my life personally.