Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School student and Minister’s Youth Council Ursella Khan was recently honoured by the Alberta legislative assembly when she stood up to a group of anti-immigration demonstrators at her school. Here she is outside the Legislature Building with her family (left to right): brother Harris Khan, mother Sadia Khan, Ursella and sister Shanzay Khan. Two other Red Deer students have been chosen to sit on the Youth Council — Liam Lorrain and Breagh Mason. (Photo contributed)

Three Red Deer students to serve on new Alberta Education youth council

Minister’s group aims to get input from students

Three Red Deer students have been named to Alberta Education’s new Minister’s Youth Council.

Ursula Khan, Liam Lorrain and Breagh Mason will each serve 10-month terms on the council, providing student input to Alberta Education.

The three were selected from 232 junior and senior high school students across the province who applied to be on the council. Alberta Education made the announcement on Thursday but would not provide information on what schools the students attend because of Alberta’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Khan, 16, is a Grade 11 student at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School who received media attention after she and another student, Thomas Gower, stood up to racism and anti-immigration demonstrators outside their school a month ago.

As a result, they were honoured by the Alberta legislature with a standing ovation and received special recognition from Alberta Education. At the time, she talked about the need to work better to help refugees integrate and adapt to their new homes.

Khan said she applied to be on the provincial youth council in February because she wanted to have a voice in the education system.

She said as a member of the council she wants to plan discussion groups to help identify gaps and challenges newcomers face, and to come up with ways on how to help them with their school life and ways to integrate into the community.

She had served on an a municipal youth council in Grande Prairie with her sisters before her family moved to Red Deer two years ago. She said she was “bummed out” that Red Deer didn’t have a similar council, but when she saw the Alberta Education opportunity, she applied.

The youth council gives David Eggen, Minister of Education, and Alberta Education the ability to recognize student voices and engage with a representative group of students across Alberta, the province said in a statement. Three meetings will be scheduled during the school year, in September, February and May.

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