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King’s Point student appointed to Premier’s Youth Council

Brooke Blanchard of King’s Point is one of 25 youth in this province recently appointed to the Premier’s Youth Council.
Brooke Blanchard of King’s Point is one of 25 youth in this province recently appointed to the Premier’s Youth Council.

KINGS POINT, NL — Brooke Blanchard of King’s Point is one of 25 youth in this province recently appointed to the Premier’s Youth Council.  

The youth, aged 16 to 24, will advise government on issues of interest from a youth perspective.
A Level III student at Valmont Academy, Blanchard is an avid volunteer in her community and is passionate about rural sustainability.
The confident 17-year-old feels she can contribute “a good voice for rural Newfoundland and Labrador” to the council.
“In rural communities, we don’t have many youth left,” she said. “The population is growing older, and we are seeing youth leaving our province and not coming back to work.”
Members of the youth council go through a merit-based appointment process administered by the Public Service Commission.
“Input from a youth perspective is an important part of shaping our future,”
A former co-chair of her school’s student leadership program, Blanchard is also looking forward to sharing her experiences of being educated in a small, rural Newfoundland school.
There are 10 students in her school in Level III this year.
“This year I’m doing four online courses, because we don’t have the teachers or the resources to be taught in class,” she said. “So, I’m excited to talk about those things at the council.”
She is also a member of her school’s drama club, and participates in the school’s sports programs.
After completing high school, she plans to earn a nursing degree, which she hopes will take her back to rural Newfoundland.
“Going to medical school is my ultimate goal,” she said.
In a public speaking competition in 2016, she spoke about the importance of government undertaking initiatives such as roadwork. Better roads would mean more tourists, she said, which would lead to economic growth.
In July, Brooke participated in the Davinci Engineering Enrichment Program (DEEP) at the University of Toronto. She was awarded a scholarship from the Research and Development Corporation of NL to attend the program, which offers a diverse range of pre-university courses to high school students who excel in science and math.
In looking at the biomedical aspect of engineering, Blanchard worked with stem cells and visited a heart research lab. She said the program was an amazing experience.
“Each week we had a chance to choose what courses we did, all surrounding different fields of engineering,” Blanchard said. “We got a chance to tour some very cool labs and to be exposed to engineering and what we could do if we went on to (study) engineering.”
She is also a former participant in the SHAD program at the University of New Brunswick. Every July, about 900 of the country’s brightest high school students experience SHAD’s unique experiential-learning program. Rooted in the STEAM — science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics — disciplines, the program is offered at select universities across the country.
“I went (to SHAD) two summers ago,” she said. “It’s where I pinpointed my passion for youth needing a voice and that I could be that voice.”
In November 2016, Blanchard was first runner-up in the Miss Achievement NL Scholarship Program.
“That’s an awesome program and I’ll definitely be back this year,” she said of the province’s largest scholarship program.
She encourages other students to get involved in their community.
“The school is the heart of this community,” she said. “We have fundraisers and concerts at the school. We have sports tournaments, and it involves the full community to put these things off. So, getting everyone involved gives us a sense of community pride.”
For her, it’s important those living in rural areas of the province have a voice at government’s table. She’s ready to put forward her thoughts and ideas through the youth council.
“If nobody knows about us tucked away in these small rural communities, then no one’s going to want to help us,” she said.
 

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