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3rd World Canada: Essay wins KI youth provincial writing award

Thursday April 26, 2012
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Lilyanna McKay of KI is garnering a lot of attention for her writing.

Lilyanna McKay of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation received the Student Achievement Award by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/ FEESO) for an essay she wrote about how the voices of First Nations youth need to be heard.

McKay won the intermediate grades 9-10 applied/essential category in the prose or poetry division of the award for her entry: “3rd World Canada: Voices of First Nations Need to be Heard.”

While the entry was submitted as an essay, McKay said it was written as a speech she delivered before the 2010 Toronto premiere of Third World Canada, a documentary featuring McKay and her siblings and the day-to-day life on the reserve.

“I wasn’t going to do anything with it other than that speech in Toronto,” she said. Then last year, her teacher at Lakehead Alternative School submitted the speech for the awards.

“Lilyanna’s personal essay is a well-crafted plea for First Nations children,” said OSSTF/FEESO President Ken Coran in a press release. “Its topic is timely and its message appeals to both the hearts and the minds of its readers.”

McKay said she feels “pretty good” about receiving the award.

This is the 27th consecutive year in which OSSTF/FEESO has presented the Student Achievement Awards (formerly known as the Marion Drysdale Awards).

The awards were presented for poem or essay submissions in five age, language and academic categories and the competition is open to all Ontario public high school students.

This year’s theme was “The Right to Speak. The Responsibility to Listen.”

OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, early childhood educators, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, university support staff, and many others in education.


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