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News Release: FMPSD ​Students Appointed to Minister's Youth Council

News Release: FMPSD ​Students Appointed to Minister's Youth Council

(Fort McMurray, AB, July 22, 2021) Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) congratulates Shaaf Babar and Neel Patel (photos below in order), who have recently been appointed to Adriana LaGrange, Alberta Minister of Education’s Youth Council. Both students are starting grade 12 at Westwood Community High School this fall.


As per the official website, The Minister’s Youth Council (MYC) “consists of about 40 junior and senior high students with diverse interests, identities, backgrounds and perspectives from all regions of Alberta. Students on the council provide their perspectives on a number of education topics.” This year more than 350 applications were received. 

Both young men are looking forward to lending their voice to this important provincial group.

“I am honoured to be selected for the MYC and for the opportunity to represent my school and community at the provincial level. I am excited to meet and collaborate with fellow students from across the province on a variety of topics and challenges in education and hope to give a voice to important issues that require attention including tackling racism and discrimination through stronger educational programs and initiatives,” noted Shaaf.

“I am also looking forward to learning from other students, developing my leadership skills, providing input to provincial programs, policy and legislation and having a chance to be a part of influencing positive change for students across Alberta. I am passionate about many things including sports, poetry, developing innovative technology solutions to benefit society and contributing to the community through volunteer work and I will bring this same passion and motivation to the MYC,” he added. 

Neel also is looking forward to being an advocate for change. 

“I’m truly honoured to be selected for the Minister’s Youth Council. Being part of this group means a lot to me, and I hope to use it as a platform to advocate for matters that affect youth. It’s an opportunity for me to learn from leaders and professionals and have a chance to sit at the table with the decision-makers. I look forward to sharing my experiences with Alberta Education, and I hope that by bringing my perspective to the table I’ll be able to help bring change to the curriculum for the betterment of all Albertan youth.”

Cynthia Shelley, Principal, Westwood, was ecstatic to receive the news:

“We are very proud that Westwood has not just one, but two representatives on the Minister's Youth Council again this year. This is the fifth year in a row that our students have been selected to represent the student voice at the Ministry level as a part of the MYC. This continued representation speaks to the value of promoting student voice and community spirit that is embedded in Westwood's Philosophy of Education.”

“Creating an environment for students to feel confident to be active in their own learning and to contribute to the education community is tremendously meaningful, empowering and inspiring. I know that both Neel and Shaaf will be incredible ambassadors for Westwood, the FMPSD, Wood Buffalo, and students across Alberta. Shaaf and Neel are hard working, thoughtful and impactful change agents. Congratulations both!” Shelley added. 

Jennifer Turner, Superintendent, FMPSD congratulated both young men.

“We are proud of Shaaf and Neel. We know both of them have already made a mark on FMPSD and the region by securing final spots in the Wood Buffalo Regional Science Fair and Canada Wide Science Fair. Their innovation, desire to change their community, province and by extension the nation for the better through improvements in education speaks to their choice of being change agents. We know the future is bright for these young men. We look forward to many more accomplishments as they start their final year of high school.”

Council members will attend three in-person meetings this year depending on the COVID situation.

Congratulations students!

For more information, please contact:

Kiran Malik-Khan

Communications Manager

Fort McMurray Public School Division