Native Village
Youth and Education news

April 2, 2012
Local student addresses UN Committee on the rights of the child

Temagami First Nation, Ontario: Grade 12 St.  Joseph-Scollard Hall Catholic Secondary School student, Kendall White, was among a dozen Aboriginal student ambassadors selected by the The First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada to travel to Geneva, Switzerland to address the United Nation's committee on the rights of the child specifically on issues impacting First Nations children in Canada.

Kendall, who hails from Temagami First Nation, trained for three days in Toronto before heading overseas to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) from February 1 to February 8, 2012.

Kendall spoke to the committee about many issues, but focused on education because of her own experi-ence.

"In elementary school (on Temagami First Nation), four different grades shared one teacher, which wasn't ideal for learning the stuff you needed to be learning in your own grade," she said.

Once she chose St.  Joseph-Scollard Hall for secondary school, Kendall moved to the town of Temagami with a host family to better access the school buses that went to North Bay.

Kendall said she struggled until she found the right host family and credits her involvement with clubs at school and back home as a source of stability.

"I struggled to believe in myself for a few years while I adjusted to all these changes and instability, but once I started to get involved with things like the SJSH Green Team and with the Temagami First Nation Youth Council, I realized that confidence is key to succeeding.  I began to believe that I could achieve my dreams."

Last year, inspired by what she was learning through her involvement with the SJSH environmental group, The Green Team, Kendall applied and was selected as one of only 80 students worldwide to travel to the Artic with Students on Ice to see first hand the effects of climate change.

She has been accepted to Sir Sandford Fleming College to study Environmental Technology in September with plans to continue at Trent University upon completing college.

She is also considering an invitation to join the National Aboriginal Youth Council.

Listen to Kendall speak to APTN National News live from the United Nations Convention in Geneva about her experience:\-equal-rights/

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