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JAWS Student Exemplifies Local Leadership

Each year as the holiday season approaches, Lac La Biche County shines a spotlight on exceptional students through its Junior Citizen of the Year Award. This award is given to a young person with strong leadership qualities who makes a positive difference in the lives of their peers and community members. Lyric Jesso, a Grade 12 student at J.A. Williams High School, was recognized as the Lac La Biche County 2023 Junior Citizen of the Year, thanks to his remarkable leadership prowess, drive, and unwavering commitment to community service.

Lyric is a natural leader with an infectious personality and an innate ability to inspire. He finds joy and satisfaction in his volunteer efforts, and has demonstrated impressive dedication in that endeavour through various initiatives both within and beyond the school. Whether he is serving as part of the school's Interact Club, Community Helpers, or Graduation Committee, or bettering the community at large through his work on the Restorative Justice Committee of Lac La Biche, the fire department, or Metis Nation, Lyric’s commitment to service stands as a testament to his compassionate nature.

"Lyric finds personal fulfillment in helping others, especially through service to his school and community," said J.A. Williams School Assistant Principal Kim Nashim. "Throughout the years, he has sought out ways he can give back and make our school, and Lac La Biche, a better place. He takes his roles very seriously; he is not afraid of hard work and seeks out new challenges and opportunities."

Lyric was excited and humbled when he learned that he had received the award.

"When they told me I won the award, I wanted to tell everyone but I had to keep it a secret for a day or two, which was hard," he said. "But it was really amazing being nominated, and then winning the award. It felt special to have so many people say so many kind things about me, especially when this school and this town have so many other amazing people all doing the same work."

Given the opportunity, Lyric will speak at length about his volunteer efforts. He is proud of what he does and the change that he is able to affect around him.

"I think it's just really important that for people like me, who are fortunate enough to have the time and the energy and resources to help other people, that they actually do help," he said. 

"Lyric is always the first person to sign up for various activities within the school, demonstrating his commitment to giving back to the community," said Wade Coutney, a teacher at J.A. Williams High School. "For the past few years, Lyric has officiated at several volleyball tournaments, including our WOW POW, tournaments at Aurora Middle School, and more. His professionalism and fair judgment have earned him the respect of players, coaches, and fellow referees. Whether it is his academic pursuits or extracurricular activities, Lyric approaches each endeavour with enthusiam and dedication."

As part of the Junior Citizen of the Year Award, Lyric was recognized publicly at the Lac La Biche Light Up the Night event in December, where he had the honour of lighting the Christmas tree in front of the Northern Lights Public Schools office.

For now, Lyric has his eyes set firmly on the horizon. He will graduate his year, and then move on to attend the University of Alberta's Conservation Biology program.

"I really love the outdoors," Lyric said, "it's my kind of thing. I love being outside, and I love this area and all the wildlife and space. After the four-year program, I want to do an environmental policy analysis, specifically focused on Indigenous enviromental policy."

Lyric Jesso is the Northern Lights Public Schools’ Student Shining Star for the month of January. Each month during the 2023-2024 school year, NLPS is featuring different Shining Stars and celebrating their contributions and accomplishments.