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Article and photo by Jared Story
Sisler High School
student group guru Greg Shedden was recently honoured with a major national
Shedden, a teacher
at Sisler, was presented with a Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers from
Lieutenant Governor Janice Filmon, on behalf of Governor General Julie Payette,
during a ceremony on Jan. 9 at Government House.
Shedden was one of
15 Manitobans to be honoured with Governor General’s Awards for outstanding
At Sisler, Shedden
supervises Inter-School Nation to Support and Protect Indigenous Rights and
Education (INSPIRE); the student group collects books to donate to low-income
Indigenous families and northern communities. INSPIRE will be collecting books
for donation in January and February.
“Three years ago,
the students went to Fisher River Cree Nation with over 1,000 books, delivered
them personally and then lived on the reserve for three days,” Shedden said.
Depending on the
school year, Shedden oversees 10 to 15 student groups, including: Sisler
Political Youth, which has hosted municipal, provincial and federal electoral
candidate debates; HOPE for the Homeless, which collects hygiene products for
donation to Siloam Mission; Generation Peace, which raises funds for
war-affected children; as well as Sisler Teens Against Nicotine and Drugs and
the school’s gay-straight alliance.
Shedden, who has
taught at Sisler for 16 years, is quick to point out that all of the school’s student
groups are student-driven.
“My job is to help
(students) focus their energies and find productive ways to take their
motivation and desire and turn it into action,” Shedden said.
group Shedden oversees is Students of Sisler Environmental Helpers, which has
helped improve the environment at Sisler.
“In this school we
have our own organic garden, our own apple orchard, our own recycling program,
our own composting program, and we have a solar wall,” Shedden said. “All of
those things happened because we don’t talk about doing things, we do things.”
working with student groups is like having a fountain of youth.
“That’s the other
thing about being teacher advisor to youth groups, their energy feeds me. I
don’t get to be complacent,” he said.