Mehak Parihar is an example of what opportunity supported by our public education system can mean to immigrant children coming to Canada.
Parihar was recognized for her accomplishments at the Central Okanagan Board of Education meeting last Wednesday (June 28).
She appeared before the school board as a Grade 12 graduate of Rutland Senior Secondary and outgoing co-chair of the district student council.
Parihar reflected on her education journey to trustees since her arrival in Kelowna in 2010 barely able to speak English.
She said 13 years ago, she was a scared and apprehensive child moving to a new country, and today she graduates high school feeling welcomed and loved.
“It has been so inspiring for me to learn from different cultures and the people I have met,” said Parihar, noting her student council experience has taught her how to be an advocate and a leader.
Kevin Kaardal, school district superintendent/CEO, said Parihar is a shining example of what public education is all about, “seeing young people become amazing adults.”
Trustees learned about a pilot project initiated by Black Mountain Elementary, where the power of storytelling was encouraged to be expressed by kindergarten students, which led to students embracing their desire to expand their literacy skills.
Black Mountain principal Janet Slaney and vice-principal Jeremy Sanbrooks presented the results of the program, joined by students Sam Gibson, Cohen Wintoneak and Declan Seney.
Tyson Caul, a co-winner of the Innovation Generation Challenge, appeared before the board of education to discuss his prototype ‘multi-pliers’ which he created with his partner Jared Gregor.
Joined by Tyler Jensen, a Rutland Senior Secondary teacher and lead teacher of the iGen program, Caul said he and Gregor had more than 60 ideas for the contest, ultimately deciding to focus on the multi-pliers concept.
The École Okanagan Mission Secondary students were joined on the podium by Noah Garcia, École Mission Secondary, second place; Ben Ramsey and Everett Boutcher, George Elliot Secondary, third place; Kylan Urban and David Ross, Mount Boucherie Secondary.
Trustees expressed thanks and gratitude to each other as the 2022-23 school year comes to a conclusion with the next board meeting set for September.
Trustee Julia Fraser described the past school year for trustees as like riding a jet airliner.
“Just like a jet airliner, it was slow and turbulent at the start but once we gained flight…we became a cohesive team that faced some crucial decisions,” Fraser said.
Board chair Lee-Ann Tiede expressed her appreciation for trustees, staff and partner groups all working together for a common purpose – the quality of education.
“The summer break gives us all an opportunity to recharge, reflect and rejuvenate for the year ahead,” she said.