Levee highlights youth talent

The achievements of Yukon youth were in full display Wednesday, as Doug Phillips used his Commissioner's New Year's Levee to put 20 of them on centre stage.

The achievements of Yukon youth were in full display Wednesday, as Doug Phillips used his Commissioner’s New Year’s Levee to put 20 of them on centre stage.

From the singing of Oh Canada, by 15-year-old Madi Dixon, to performances by the Northern Lights School of Dance, and to the winning artwork of the Illuminate Youth Art Contest Exhibition that was displayed during the reception, Phillips worked his desired legacy.

“As commissioner, I have the opportunity to do some pretty special things, and promote issues that are close to my heart,” he told the audience at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre after being piped in by the Midnight Sun Pipe Band.

“One such program, that I began in my first year as commissioner, is the promotion of our talented young artists and musicians across Yukon.

“Some of you may have noticed,” he added, to knowing chuckles throughout the room.

Indeed, he renamed the entertainment program two years ago to “The Commissioner’s Youth Showcase.”

A modern ballet piece, Firebird, and a Bollywood routine, both by the Northern Lights School of Dance troupe, framed the presentation of the Outstanding Youth Achievement Award.

Formerly known as the Commissioner’s Award for Youth Recognition, this award recognizes youth who “performed an outstanding or extraordinary service for their community; and/or have made positive contributions and demonstrated leadership in their activities by volunteering their time, energy and talent for the betterment of their community.”

The award is sponsored by the Yukon Government Youth Directorate in partnership with the commissioner’s office.

Since he was among the first four youth to receive the new award, it can be understood why Travis Banks had not heard of it until recently, but, “when I got the call, I was pretty excited.”

The 18-year-old graduate of Porter Creek Secondary School was recognized for his work as a soccer coach for children.

“I’ve always liked kids,” Banks said in a telephone interview before receiving his medal. “You can just be yourself with kids and have fun … they are always there to have fun.”

Besides, he says, coaching helps him rethink his own game. And he has the satisfaction of seeing a nervous child leave his or her comfort zone and maybe score a goal by the end of the season.

Banks says he likes the “mentality” of soccer and how inclusive it has been since his parents first put him on a pitch at the age of five. All of his friends, and new friends, played, too.

“No matter where you go in this world, you can play soccer,” he says.

Also receiving an award was Cody Park, a coach and mentor at Vanier Catholic Secondary School.

Excelling academically as well, Park was chosen valedictorian for his First Nations grad.

Then there was Vera Schall and Finley Sparling who both contributed to their community of Marsh Lake.

Sparling was also a sailing camp instructor for youth, while Schall was involved in running children’s programming as a youth recreation assistant. She also helped co-ordinate Marsh Lake’s annual dog show.

Another four youth were recognized for achieving the highest average, upon graduation, from their secondary school. The Governor General’s Academic Awards were established in 1873.

Framed certificates went to Cameron Cottrell-Tribes, of Porter Creek Secondary School; Wendy Hartmann, St. Elias Community School; Michaela St. Pierre, F.H. Collins Secondary School; and Jonas Vasseur, Vanier Catholic Secondary School.

Before Patti Balsillie, the MC, re-introduced Dixon to close the ceremony with a rendition of Land of Gold, some “non-youth” were recognized for contributions to the Yukon: Joanne Green and Kenneth Oppold were both presented with St. John Ambulance Volunteer Awards for over 2,000 hours of volunteer service.

As well, Amanda Price, vice-president of the Whitehorse chapter of MADD, was presented with a Commissioner’s Award for Public Volunteer Service.

Following the afternoon ceremony, guests had cake and refreshments amid the artwork of the Illuminate Youth Art Contest, a part of the Commissioner’s Youth Showcase. Youth, aged six to 18, created original artworks that were inspired by First Nations arts and culture.

Among the artwork of the many runners up, winning entries were framed.

Winners were Jessica Van Bibber, Hailey White, Aleyxandra Smith, Mariah MacDonald, Sol-Edene Drolet, Nev Shannon, Kassua Dreyer, Tristin Primozic and Robin Mueller.

Darrell Hookey is a freelance

writer living in Whitehorse.

Just Posted

The Fireweed Market in Shipyards Park will open on May 13. Joel Krahn/Yukon News
Whitehorse’s Fireweed Market opens May 13

The Fireweed Market will return with ‘exciting’ new and returning vendors

Ron Rousseau holds a sign saying ‘It’s time for a cultural shift’ during the Yukoners: Raise Your Voice Against Misogyny rally on May 11. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Protest held to condemn Yukon Party MLAs’ texts

A rally was held outside of legislature to condemn the inappropriate texts messages of Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko.

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 12, 2021.… Continue reading

Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley announced youth vaccination clinics planned for this summer. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon government file)
Vaccination campaign planned for Yukon youth age 12 and up

The Pfizer vaccine was approved for younger people on May 5.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced two new cases of COVID-19 on May 11. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two new cases of COVID-19 reported, one in the Yukon and one Outside

One person is self-isolating, the other will remain Outside until non-infectious

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file
File photo of the legislative assembly. The previous spring sitting began on March 4 but was interrupted due to the election.
Throne speech kicks off short spring legislature sitting

The government will now need to pass the budget.

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Most Read