Sylvan Lake teen Ryan Leclerc was among a dozen Indigenous students in Alberta to be honoured for their cultural pride, dedication to education and leadership.
Leclerc, now a Grade 9 student at École Mother Teresa Catholic School in Sylvan Lake, was one of 12 Indigenous students recognized with a provincial 2022 Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Awards by the Alberta School Boards Association last summer.
“I just want to thank my teachers, my parents and friends. And I’m just proud to be who I am,” said Leclerc, who completed Grade 8 at the same school.
The awards are presented to students “who model strength and commitment in the pursuit of their personal educational paths.” Ryan was the recipient of the Grades 7-9 award for ASBA’s Central Zone, and is the first-ever Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools’ recipient. ASBA received a total of 270 nominations from across the province.
The June 25 ceremony at Government House included remarks from the Honourable Salma Lakhani, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta; Alberta’s Education Minister and Red Deer North MLA Adriana LaGrange and ASBA’s Vice-president Shali Baziuk, on behalf of President Marilyn Dennis.
“Trustees across the province, through the Alberta School Boards Association, are pleased to recognize the significant achievements of Indigenous students, and locally, the Red Deer Catholic School Board of Trustees is very proud of Ryan for being one of only 12 students recognized in the last school year,” said Board Chair, Anne Marie Watson of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.
Jeff Tuchscherer, principal of École Mother Teresa School, said he and his staff are “absolutely thrilled” Leclerc was a recipient of the 2022 Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award.
”Ryan has an abundance of pride in his heritage and is willing to share that with those around him. He demonstrates a humble leadership in our school community while sharing a diverse blend of talents. This young man is a worthy representative of both his Indigenous and school communities,” Tuchscherer added.
Ryan Sawula, Associate Superintendent of Curriculum, said “Our division is incredibly proud of Ryan Leclerc. He is an exceptional student and an outstanding model of leadership, courage, and commitment to his culture and educational path.”