Aboriginal Students Receive Prestigious Scholarships For Their Role in Making Communities Better

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is very proud to salute the outstanding Aboriginal recipients of this year’s Millennium Excellence Awards. Hard work and dedication have led to academic success for the 2009 laureates, each of whom is uniquely accomplished. These students were chosen for their exceptional achievements in leadership, social innovation, academic performance, and community service.

Scholarship awards are given at three levels: local ($4,500), provincial or territorial ($20,500), and national ($25,000). Students can use the money to help cover the cost of studies at any Canadian university or college. Award winners at the local level include Selina Boan, Jennifer Bozek, Nicolas Johnson, and Heather Miltenburg. Three students were awarded Provincial or Territorial scholarship awards: Oopik Aglukark, Tara Desroches, and Tiaré Jung. “An investment in the education of these outstanding citizens is an investment in our society’s future,” said Norman Riddell, executive director and CEO of the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. “These individuals have already demonstrated their ability to better the world around them; they know how to make a difference.”

Selina Boan is a Cree student attending Frances Kelsey Secondary School in Mill Bay, British Columbia. She is passionate about spreading a message of respect and acceptance to other youth through her work with SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere). Interactive workshops help students learn to deal with peer pressure, self-acceptance, stereotypes, and discrimination as well as helping to combat the devastating effects of bullying and inequity within the community. Selina also created a school magazine called The Globalist to engage fellow students in creating a more sustainable future, and she wants to pursue a career in public policy or international affairs. Selina plans to study Global Politics at Carleton University.

Jennifer Bozek is a Métis student attending Carpenter High School in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. Jenn launched a school newspaper and has organized spirit days and other events to give back to the local community. She spent two years volunteering in an after-school program at Jubilee Elementary School where she works with young children, and she has served as a basketball coach and does volunteer work in her church, as well.

Jenn is active on sports teams and has competed in volleyball provincially and nationally. In 2007 and 2008, she represented her school at the provincial track & field finals. Jenn wants to become an optometrist and intends enroll in Sciences at either the University of Saskatchewan or the University of Alberta.

Nicolas Johnson is a Métis student attending W.L. Seaton Secondary School in Vernon, British Columbia. He helped organize the Wheels for Change bike tour to raise awareness about global warming and then led the tour over more than 1,000 km of terrain. He also coordinated filming so this story could be shared with others. Nicolas uses film to inform and inspire others, and enjoys being a mentor to urban youth interested in movies at the Sookinchoot Youth Centre. Nicolas also volunteers at Vernon Jubilee Hospital and enjoys playing the saxophone His career goal is to be a medical doctor. This fall, Nicolas intends to begin studies for a General Sciences Bachelor Degree at UBC.

Heather Miltenburg is a Métis student attending Gordon Bell High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Heather has won numerous academic awards and is a member of the Student Council, Safe Grad Committee, and the Grad Fundraising Committee at her school. She is a member of her school choir and band, and has served as the lacrosse team manager. In order to focus on issues within her community, Heather volunteered at the North End Women’s Centre, an organization that aims to help women struggling with poverty, addiction, and violence. She helped sort clothing and food donations, provided general maintenance and upkeep, and assisted with the annual barbecue fundraiser. In 2007, she started as a homework tutor for the Gordon Bell Learning Centre and has since has been named co-manager, coordinating tutors and raising funds for the Centre. Heather will be working toward a Bachelor of Science and Education program at the University of Winnipeg.

Oopik Aglukark is an Inuk attending John Arnalukjuak High School in Arviat, Nunavut. Poverty is a significant issue in Arivat, and Oopik volunteers for the Breakfast Club, which ensures that children have a healthy breakfast five days a week. That kind of good start creates better conditions for learning. Oopik is an executive member of the Wildfire Committee and has also held leadership positions with Arviat Youth Taking Charge, a group that organizes community youth activities. In her school, Oopik has played on the school badminton team and attended the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. She has also taken part in four science fairs, winning two gold and two silver placements. As this year’s regional champion in the Job Skill Demonstration category, Oopik will be off to the Canadian Skills Competition in Charlottetown in May. Oopik wants to become a neurologist and plans to return to her community where she can give back to the people and serve as a role model.

Tara Desroches is a Métis student attending E.D. Feehan Catholic High School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She plays saxophone in the jazz band and is the Spirit Director for her student council, organizing spirit days and building a strong school community. Through her involvement with the Multicultural Club, Tara created opportunities for the sharing of foods, cultures, and traditions between the entire student population. Cultural events such as feasts, round dances and powwows are very important to Tara, who participates in the Whispering Winds dance troupe, expressing her culture through traditional Aboriginal dances. She is a dedicated volunteer with PAAL, a program that opens up opportunities for children with a wide range of disabilities, including such activities as swimming, dancing, gymnastics and other games. Tara wants to be a teacher and plans to enroll in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

Tiaré Jung is a Haida student attending Duchess Park Secondary School in Prince George, British Columbia. A talented artist herself, Tiaré volunteers at the Two Rivers Gallery where she works with young children in a variety of media including canvas, paper, and clay. As a volunteer junior curator, she designed a poster to promote an exhibition featuring local teen artists. Tiaré also supports her Public Library, where she has worked as both a reading assistant and a youth advisor. She successfully launched “Pocket Change for Global Change” and organized a charity concert to collect coins from students to build a well in Uganda. Using her artistic abilities, she designed the poster and T-shirts for the event. Tiaré has also organized events and activities for more than 80 students who participated in her school’s 30 Hour Famine. In recognition of her leadership in the area of social justice, she received one of five Legal Eagle Awards from the Lieutenant Governor of BC. Tiaré is currently planning to earn a diploma in Illustration and Design.

Since 2000, the Foundation, through its different awards programs, has delivered almost one million bursaries and scholarships (worth $3 billion) to students across Canada. For a complete list of this year’s laureates and more information about the Foundation and its programs, visit www.millenniumscholarships.ca.