Jesse Lafontaine is an amazing student who loves learning about his culture, and he actively promotes his culture within Kelowna Secondary School to the entire student body. I have been working with Jesse for over a year now in a role where we bring cultural activities to high achieving Aboriginal students in an afterschool program – The Aboriginal Ambassador Youth Group. The students in these groups volunteer their time and work the program into their already busy schedules. Jesse has made every meeting. We teach the students how to sing and drum, cook traditional foods, paddle 14 person canoes, and many other things throughout the year. We also partner with the Aboriginal section of the RCMP to put these students in front of positive role models. The only thing we ask is that these students become ambassadors for our Aboriginal youth across the Okanagan. Jesse has gone over and above in his role with our group. He has come to every meeting with a positive outlook and spread the word throughout his school.
He has facilitated workshops at the Canadian Student Leadership Conference to peers from across the country and Gathering Our Voices for Aboriginal peers from across BC on the Medicine Wheel teachings and being Métis Youth in high school. He did an amazing job of telling his story about what it means to be a Métis youth in the Okanagan. He understands what it means to walk in balance in the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual realm of the medicine wheel teachings. More than anything, I know that Jesse is a proud member of the Métis community, and he shows this pride in the work he is doing on a daily basis. His grades are among the best in his class, and he is a leader in his school. Jesse truly lives our Aboriginal Ambassador Program's mantra of "Guided by the past, invigorated by the present, and providing for the future."