Meet Caroline! A Q&A With Grade 12 Student Caroline Sylvester

What is your name and age, and what community are you from?

Hi! I’m Caroline Sylvester, I’m 18 years old, and I’m from Membertou First Nation. I’m a Grade 12 student at Sydney Academy.

What clubs, team, or groups are you involved in at school?

I’m a part of the youth council in Membertou, CBU’s Business Network for Aborignal Youth program, NAIG (Native American Indigenous Games) softball team, and Sydney Academy’s rugby, soccer, and softball teams.

What’s your favorite subject?

My favorite subject is Aboriginal Entrepreneurship and English.

You’ve traveled a lot this past year! Where did you go and for what purposes?

In the last year I travelled to Kamloops BC for E- Spirit 2013 for a business plan competition with aboriginal youth with my best friend Jody Paul. I travelled to Campeche Mexico for a youth leadership camp where I lived with a Mexican family for 2 weeks and worked with orphanages and learned leadership skills.

I’ve been to Toronto in August with my friend Jody Paul just for a little get away. I also travelled to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for the AFN Youth Summit which was probably the best experience ever! I learned so much and met so many inspiring young aboriginal youth from all different nations.

Just recently, I travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico with my host sister Monse to spend my birthday, Christmas, and New Years with her and her family, which was totally different.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?

If I visit any place in the world right now, it would be Argentina or Italy.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to visit people, go for walks outside in the trail to clear my mind, travel, hang out with friends, help my mom around the house, go for drives and go to Tim Hortons to talk with people.

Do you have plans for what you’ll do after you graduate high school? What do you see yourself doing in ten years?

I want to go to CBU or somewhere close by for a few years and take my Bachelor of Arts and Community Studies degree and learn as much about our culture and language before I hopefully move to Saskatoon or Regina for the First Nations University of Canada.

I want to be a fluent speaker in my language and I’m learning things by bits and pieces.

If you could be or do anything at all, what would it be?

I would want to live the ways my ancestors lived long ago because the traditions and the language were so much more alive. But I love being what I am today because there’s many challenges in life and it makes life what it is.

Do you have a role model? If so, who is it, and how have they influenced you?

I have many role models, but one of them is my Mother because she brought me into this world and she made me who I am today. She’s the most beautiful person in my life.

Danny Paul because of his knowledge with our people and his big heart.

Shawna Olson, who met I from Saskatoon, because she’s very respectful to herself, keeps her traditions close to her, and she dances old style jingle which I would love to dance someday.

My aunty Barb because she’s so smart and one of the strongest people I know. She always knows what to say when I ask her for advice.

Is there something you’d like to see in your school or community that isn’t there now?

I would like to see more of the language spoken by our youth, learning about the ceremonies and traditions in the old ways.

I would like to see more of the youth supporting each other and helping each other instead of judging and not liking one another. It’s important for us to work together, especially today.

In my school I would like to have our L’nu culture being a part of our education system which would be taught by our elders, the true knowledge keepers.

Any words of advice, or a personal favorite quote?

“Don’t be afraid to be different!”

Thanks, Caroline. Best of luck!