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Three students from Toronto District Christian High were invited to Ottawa, Ontario, in April to meet with Canada’s Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty.

High school students advise Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on the budget.

Sewa Adegorite, Mark Hanna, and Angelo Duraisingham were invited to advise Flaherty on budget issues following their participation in a nation-wide program that gathered input from over 5,000 students. The students demonstrated leadership abilities in teaching their fellow classmates about budgetary issues and democratic process.

The school, which focuses on student-driven, project-based learning, worked in partnership with CIVIX, a charitable organization that works to strengthen student interest in issues of citizenship, public policy, and voting.

Teacher Ben Freeman said it was exciting to see the students’ hard work over a semester result in a chance to present to Minister Flaherty.

“Trying to teach budget issues through a Christian worldview is difficult,” Freeman added. “Students are more engaged when one of their friends has a personal connection.”

The students, together with two others from another school, were flown to the capital city, given a VIP tour of the Parliament buildings, and then offered a 30-minute one-on-one opportunity to consult with the Minister.

Sewa Adegorite, a grade 10 student, said that even though she wasn’t familiar with Jim Flaherty prior to this whole experience, the journey has opened her eyes to the importance of what they were involved in.

“I certainly care about the future of Canada because my generation . . . will be impacted the most by the generation that is in power today,” she stated. “It has impacted my future because I know now that when I vote, it will be an informed vote based on my beliefs and values.”

Principal William Groot said that as the students reflected on these events at a recent school assembly, they emphasized that student leadership, initiative, and determination leads to great opportunities.

“God uses his children and events to lead them and to serve his purposes,” he said. “We are called to be faithful.”

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