Tec Voc star student earns prestigious awardFebruary 10, 2021
Sasha Houle, a Grade 12 student at Technical Vocational High School, was virtually honoured by the Manitoba Indigenous Youth Achievement Awards on Jan. 28.
The MIYAAs are annually presented to Indigenous youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who have excelled in a variety of categories, from cultural to academic.
Houle won in the Academic Junior category. She is a star student at Tec Voc. Currently, her academic average is an astonishing 99.2 percent.
“I guess I’m just working hard and this award has helped me realize that I’m going in the right direction,” Houle said.
Houle is almost acing all her courses, which include many science-based subjects. After graduation, she hopes to study medicine, specifically psychiatry.
“I really want to make mental health resources accessible for youth all around the country,” Houle said. “I think mental health should be a more open conversation and I really want to work toward achieving that.”
The 26th annual MIYAAs will be held in online in five sessions on Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 25, April 29 and May 27. The 2020 award ceremony was scheduled for the fall, but was postponed due to the pandemic.
On Jan. 27, Tec Voc held a small, physically-distanced ceremony in its school store to honour Houle. Shane Bostrom, the school’s Indigenous Grad Coach, presented Houle with a $1,000 cheque from the MIYAAs, money that she plans to put toward her future studies.
“Besides the monetary compensation, I feel just being told that you’re doing very well is important, especially in academics which is very important toward medical school,” Houle said.
“I think this award has helped me realize that I do have a good shot of making medicine my future and that I can dedicate my life to it.”
However, Houle’s success in school isn’t just about academics. She’s a member of Tec Voc’s Fair Trade and Sustainability team and the co-chair of the school’s Youth in Philanthropy committee.
Houle is also a part of the WSD Student Advisory Committee, which provides student voice to the WSD Board of Trustees.
She’s a tutor for Frontier College, a national charitable literacy organization. Houle is also a budding communications professional, serving as communications director for Revamp Youth Foundation and an events director for Project Pulse Winnipeg. The latter organization aims to make health sciences opportunities accessible to all students.
Kathleen Mira, an Applied Commerce and Technology teacher at Tec Voc, said Houle is the whole package.
“With Sasha, there’s way more beyond academics,” Mira said. “She’s so giving with everything. That’s why I’m so in awe of her, just her ability to prioritize and her giving nature.”