Secondary Schools Host Member of Parliament

On April 19th, Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute and Hammarskjold High School each welcomed guest speaker the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North, to address Grade 10, 11 and 12 students in a motivational talk on advocacy.

At Superior CVI, Minister Hajdu was welcomed to the stage by Student Trustee Mehar Mago and Hammarskjold High School introductions were performed by Indigenous Student Trustee Jesslynn Friday and Rachel Tribe, student, and member of Minister’s Constituency Youth Council. Minister Hajdu addressed the students with a keynote on the importance of pursuing an education and overcoming obstacles, especially encumbering childhood challenges, with the help of supportive people. “Education set me free. I truly believe that everyone deserves a second chance, and a third chance, and I truly believe that with the right supports around us we can reach our full potential,” said Minister Hajdu.

Minister Hajdu engaged the students in the topic of advocacy and emphasized that listening in a judgement free way is the first and most important quality of being an advocate. She spoke of the world of politics, the courage it takes to assert an opposing opinion in support of a meaningful initiative, and the powerful effect of making a change to improve Canada. “I get to fight every single day for people in our communities that deserve a fair chance. I think that [people] being involved and engaged in politics has the most potential to change our country in a way that is kinder, more inclusive. When we are kinder, more inclusive, I believe we are going to have a stronger country,” said Minister Hajdu.

Between the two schools, approximately 500 students experienced the presentation and many took part in the conversation. The students didn’t refrain from broaching serious topics. Teen pregnancy, residential schools, the foster home system, climate change, and housing were discussed, and the students were left with the empowering message that Canada needs improvement and the youth of today can make a difference.

Student Trustee Mehar Mago believes it was beneficial for students to learn about Minister Hajdu’s challenging childhood. “It puts into perspective that even people who we see are so powerful are just people and that those who are struggling can be powerful and strong and move past their challenges and conflict. Having advice from her on how to face these challenges and conflicts was very beneficial and helpful,” said the Grade 11 student.

Lakehead Public Schools thanks Minister Hajdu for her presentations and acknowledges the importance of encouraging the pursuit of education, seeking a positive support system to overcome challenges, and advocating for what is right to enhance kindness and inclusivity worldwide.