Junior Citizens of the Year Announced

Thursday, Jun. 18, 2020
Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty, along with the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association (SWNA) and SaskPower, announced today the names of the recipients of the 2020 Junior Citizen of the Year Award, including:
 
Telia Lafontaine (Homeschooled, Regina)
Anteneh Miller (Melville Comprehensive High School, Melville)
Aarsh Shah (Campbell Collegiate, Regina)
Alejandra Van Dusen (Winston Knoll Collegiate, Regina)
 
“The achievements of these young people are exceptional,” said Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty.  “They are each outstanding role models and are truly deserving of recognition for their leadership and resilience. I am grateful to the Saskatchewan Weekly Newspapers Association and SaskPower for celebrating our remarkable youth through this prestigious award.”
 
“To be selected as a recipient of this award means that you have joined an elite group of extraordinary Saskatchewan youth,” said SWNA Executive Director, Steve Nixon. “This year we had 147 impressive nominations and the task of selecting just four was incredibly challenging. It is an honour to be associated with this long-standing award and to have such deserving recipients.”
 
“These youth have shown a dedication beyond their age to their communities, schools and families,” said Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister Responsible for SaskPower. “Their passion and commitment make Saskatchewan the province it is today.”
 
Sponsored by SWNA in partnership with SaskPower and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Award recognizes young people (8 to 18 years of age) for their ability to overcome challenges, their positive lifestyles, community and school spirit, and their caring and responsibility. Each award recipient receives a $3,000 bursary provided by SaskPower. 
 
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Award citations attached.
Recipients are available for interviews. For contact information:
Heather Salloum
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
306-787-4415
heather.salloum@gov.sk.ca 
 
Telia Lafontaine (Homeschooled, Regina)
 
Fourteen-year-old Telia Lafontaine is remarkable in many ways. She is a strong academic, who has participated in the University of Regina Science Camps and is teaching herself to speak Spanish. She is a gifted artist who donates her time to perform music and dance in cancer wards and seniors’ residences. She is a community volunteer, supporting the Food Bank and teaching English to immigrants. She is an activist and leader, who created Operation Clean Water Tonga to assist the Polynesian Island after a devastating cyclone. When her father was hospitalized with a life-threatening illness and her mother needed to care for with him, Telia took over at home, caring for her younger siblings, leading their homeschooling, cooking and cleaning the house. Telia exemplifies compassion and service, and is an extraordinary role model.
 
Anteneh Miller (Melville Comprehensive High School, Melville)
 
Seventeen-year-old Anteneh Miller was born in Ethiopia and suffered malnourishment and neglect at an orphanage until his parents adopted him when he was four-years-old. Through his parents’ love and commitment, and his own resilience and determination, Anteneh overcame these challenges to become an individual of uncommon achievement and character. He is an outstanding student, who has been on the honour roll throughout high school. He is an accomplished athlete, receiving numerous awards, including Athlete of the Year. He also has coached football, basketball, and been an umpire for softball and baseball. Although he is a fierce competitor, Anteneh models good sportsmanship and seeks to encourage others. Anteneh is a positive and inclusive leader, who demonstrates a strong work ethic, respect and kindness.
 
Aarsh Shah (Campbell Collegiate, Regina)
 
Sixteen-year-old Aarsh Shah has received top marks at school and is passionate about engineering and robotics. As the Director of Corporate Relations for his school’s business program, he carries out major tasks, and raised over $1,000 to support the program. He also was chosen as a representative to the prestigious ABEX Awards in Saskatoon. Aarsh has donated his time and business savvy in support of numerous charities, including the YWCA, Habitat for Humanity, and the 100 Acts of Kindness program.  Aarsh is a first-generation Canadian whose parents immigrated from India. With little money and no supportive community, his parents faced many struggles. Aarsh has remained positive in the face of racism and bullying, and believes that hard work is key to success. He is a change-maker, whose kindness and leadership continue to create a better world.
 
Alejandra Van Dusen (Winston Knoll Collegiate, Regina)
 
Seventeen-year-old Alejandra Van Dusen lives with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Instead of being defined by this painful and, at times, debilitating illness, Alejandra has become a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusion. She was a Co-president of her school’s Best Buddies Program, which helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find friendships. In 2017, she was selected as one of fifty young Canadians to participate in the Rick Hansen Youth Leadership Conference in Ottawa, where she became a certified “Youth Champion.” Alejandra also is interested in environmentalism and recently took part in the National Youth Dialogue on Biodiversity. She also participated in the YMCA Leaders-in-Training Program, where she helped to raise funds for the Strong Kids Program. At home, she is a strong support to her Dad and younger sibling. Alejandra turned the challenge of arthritis into a mission to help others and lead by example.
 

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