Movers & Shakers: Difference-Makers Across Canada

The Trevor H Shirtliff Difference-Maker Scholarship is awarded to high-school students that have been identified by their high school counsellors to be activists advocating to make a difference. Whether it be within their school, their community or in the life of others, we commend these youth. 

We thought you’d like to know what caught the attention of their counsellors and why we chose these individuals to award scholarships to. In the words of a counsellor, here are the nominations:

Student: Ava Christoffel, Grade 12

Nominating Counsellor: Deanna Cook |  Harvest City Christian Academy, Regina, SK

Ava is a grade twelve student who is actively involved in our school, her church, and the larger community. This year, Ava is a co-president for our Student Leadership Council. As a K-12 school, the SLC organizes events for both our high school and the elementary school trying to re-establish community now that Covid restrictions have been lifted. For the last two years, Ava oversaw the fundraising committee which organized the canteens, menchie sales, and Reaper clothing sales. This year, as president will over see the larger events like our recent Truth and Reconciliation Assembly, Remembrance Day service, Pink Shirt day for anti-bullying, the Spring Formal and many pep rallies, coffee houses and spirit days. This last June-July, Ava participated in a service project in Uganda. They did service projects in many community schools and villages within Uganda during those ten days. This trip was very meaningful to Ava, allowing her to experience cultural events and see how poverty impacts a community. One of those local community impacts that Ava initiated is starting Posy Paks. This initiative provides hygiene packages with period necessitates to community organizations like Sofia House Regina (a women’s shelter) and City Kidz Regina. Monthly, we collect resources like tampons, sanitary pads, deodorants, and other toiletries to drop off at the shelters.

Student: Ava Woodard, Grade 12

Nominating Counsellor: Joy Barnaby | Craig Kielburger Secondary School, Milton, ON

Ava is an exceptional young person in all areas – community, leadership, academics. She has been an active member of Craig Kielburger’s Student Council since grade 9. Last year she acted as Cultural and Equity Executive where she worked hard to celebrate the diversity within our school. She was responsible for creating the Truth and Reconciliation slideshow that was shown throughout our entire school last year. She has a vested interest in the FNIM realities and the need for change. She also created many educational posts for the social media accounts which worked to recognize and honour our rich diverse student body. This year, Ava was awarded the role of Student Council President. She has been incredible. She is organized, thoughtful and inspiring. She has led a wonderful group of young people to help create a welcoming and warm school community. She does all of this while balancing her own academics. She is on the honour role each year with an above 95% average. She excels when things get hard and busy.

Ava finds time to help those around her face struggles head on and rise above any issues that may arise. She is always thinking of others and takes time to ensure that those around her feel safe and heard. 

Ava’s English teacher says that she is “an excellent public speaker and her writing level exceeds expectations. She is actively involved in the school community and puts effort into building lasting relationships. She is always respectful and participates regularly in class discussion. Most importantly, she ensures that the classroom is a brave space!”

With this information, I have the pleasure in nominating Ava Woodard for the Trevor Shirtliff award.

Student: Julia Murphy, Grade 12

Nominating Counsellor: Jelena Radic | Lord Byng Secondary School, Vancouver, BC

Julia Murphy is an exemplary student leader. She radiates a contagious positivity, balanced with respect and thoughtfulness, inspiring her peers and impressing her teachers. Julia is open-minded, well-organized, and always considers different perspectives when managing school teams and events.  

In her grade 11 year, our school awarded Julia the “Senior Leadership Award” for her contributions and commitment to making positive change in our students’ experiences and attitudes. As a Leadership student in grades 11 and 12, Julia has enthusiastically taken on roles and responsibilities to assist with school sports, camps, and events. Julia has managed and coached grade 8 and 10 volleyball teams, and she has trained and mentored student volunteers to be scorekeepers during basketball season. As a Byng Ambassador, Julia volunteers to welcome students new to our school by showing them around and answering any questions they might have. Julia has also been elected Grad Committee President by her peers. She is liasing with parents, teachers, and her peers to coordinate fundraising and spirit days throughout the year, as well as grad events in the spring.

As a Peer Counsellor in grade 12, Julia is engaging and connecting with grade 8 students daily; listening, supporting, and encouraging them as they navigate their first year in high school. Julia has been tasked with dividing our 230 grade 8 students into cohesive cabin groups, and thoughtfully assigning each group to grade 12 Peer Counsellors. In doing so, she has shown an excellent understanding of student needs and personalities.  In preparation for our grade 8 camp, Julia planned the campfire activities, including actions songs and guitar sing-alongs. She ensured all the grade 12 leaders had the lyrics, actions and chords in advance, then led a successfully entertaining campfire sing along with our grade 8s.

Student: Tyrell Beckman, Grade 12

Nominating Counsellor: Kristi Peters | Springs Christian Academy, Winnipeg, MB

Tyrell is in Grade 12 this year. He excels in academics and is a fierce leader of our school as he now serves as president of our Student Council. Tyrell runs all the council meetings, gets all the activities approved, organizes all the activities, and makes sure that all the council departments are running smoothly. He dedicates many outside school hours to work on council duties. Tyrell served two years previously on council in his role of treasurer. He spent numerous hours outside the council classroom to fulfill his role as treasurer. He worked tirelessly at lunches and after school and he was instrumental in creating the council’s first accounting team. In fact, he created a worksheet for the accounting team that would help them organize and count money from all of the council fundraisers. He is always looking for better ways to do things and better ways to serve our student population. He is a giver of his time and is a relational leader. Last year on his spare from school, he took it upon himself to come to my Grade 7 and 8 Low Organized Class, so he could participate and get to know the students better. Tyrell also serves as as a singer on our Praise and Worship team and he often leads the school in prayer before our chapel message. He is a real encourager to all our pupils. Over the past three years, Tyrell was activiely involved in our Youth Parliament sessions. This year, he is a ministry leader where he is in charge of building his team and writing the bill documents. Again, he will spend countless hours working on the bill documents because he always strives for excellence in whatever he does. He definitely puts others first! Besides his academics, Tyrell is on several of our sporting teams. He is such a wonderful role model and cheerleader for our school. He enriches the lives of everyone that he meets because of his positive outlook in life. 

If you have a student that you feel “makes a difference”, learn more and submit your nomination here: