With the beginning of a new school year there comes many things.
For me it brought a whirlwind of responsibility and obligations that could not be ignored. Schoolwork, clubs, work, family and friends can take quite a toll on your sanity, don’t you know? I found myself in the much anticipated position of not only being a senior, (finally) but also serving as the co-president on Neelin’s very own student representative council for this year. Along with early morning meetings, prep for dances and events, and endless poster making came the chance to attend CSLC.
You may be wondering just what that is. Indeed I had no idea what it was until last June when asked if I was interested in attending as the president and vice president from our school usually attend. The Canadian Student Leadership Conference took place this year in Weyburn, Sask. And while it wasn’t quite as exciting as Corner Brook, N.L., was for last year’s delegates from Neelin, I was still quite curious and intrigued.
Rewind to Sept. 25 when my co-president and I found ourselves driving out to Weyburn with our teacher advisors. There we found about 1,000 other student leaders from all across Canada. While I take the Prairies for granted, I didn’t hear one Maritimer not comment on how big the sky was how flat the land was, and my personal favourite from the west coasters: “Where’s your trees?”
Over six exhausting days, I got to experience great speakers, attended workshops and met so many people that I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. Sleep was ignored in favour of late-night chats with our wonderful billet family and the other two girls from New Brunswick who billeted with us. I was slightly nervous to live with a new family but there was no better way we could have been taken care of. I can’t thank my billet family enough for the good food, friendliness and courtesy. They were nothing short of amazing.
In fact, the entire town of Weyburn seemed to be involved in some way of organizing, feeding, billeting or just in general helping out with the conference, which inundated them with upwards of 1,200 people. I know planning the one meal for the grad banquet, is tedious enough, I can’t imagine planning eight.
CSLC was something I’m really glad I got the chance to participate in. We were fortunate enough to get help from the school board financially, which was really great considering some of the delegates from farther away were paying upwards of $1,500 of their own money to attend.
What I’ll remember more than anything, more than my new friends, my billet family, the speakers or workshops, was what happened while taking the aerial photo of all us delegates, volunteers and advisors. We were all within a roped area shaped as a maple leaf, while waiting for the picture to be taken, an impromptu rendition of O Canada took place.
Right then, I have never felt quite as proud to be Canadian.
» Allison Poppel is a Grade 12 student at Neelin High School.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 9, 2012