Questions with a Graduate

What is your name, age, school, and what community are you from?
My name is Levi Marshall, I’m seventeen years old, and I’m currently in my senior year at Sackville High School. I’m from Membertou, First Nation and I am a proud Mi’kmaq person.

What clubs, teams, or groups are you involved in at school, and after-school?
Because of my devotion to improving my school’s environment, in my sophomore year I was elected Co-President of my school, becoming the first Mi’kmaq president in my high school’s history to come from a reserve. I have the role of facilitating meetings, organizing all major schools events, being the key communication amongst all council members, staff, and community supporters, emceeing events, and acting on behalf of the student body. My other involvements include: member of Skills Nova Scotia Team for Film and Video Production, Multi Media Developer for the Red Road Project, a member of the SHS Improv Team and International Buddies Program, part of our school’s health centre committee, and a School Representative for The NSSSA leadership conferences. I take pride in being a part of my community, as I know no matter how far away I may be from my home, I am always representing, my heritage, my people, and my ancestors.

What’s your favourite subject in school?
My favourite subject at school is Advanced English; I love to talk and have in depth conversations about the world around me, and this class allowed me to do this. I was never a keen reader until I took the course and then feel in love with it, but you can learn a lot just by sharing stories and discussing.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
If I were given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world I would love to see Rome, Italy. Since I was a boy it’s always been my dream to have my photo taken in front of the Colosseum. The architecture of the city in photos are beautiful and breath taking, I won’t feel complete until I see it with my own eyes. I’m the type of person who thrives off adventure and Rome seems like it’d be quite the getaway.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I have time to myself I love to spend it, either creating a video or in nature.  Filmmaking is my passion and even though sometimes I am doing it to make money I feel as if I’m not working, because I am having fun along the way. Sometimes, we all need to get away from all the craziness of life, in my case high school, and spend time hiking, creating art, or being with friends. No matter how occupied and busy you become, you have to make sure you give time for you to recuperate, both physically and mentally.

What are your plans for when you graduate, and why? What do you see yourself doing ten years from now?
When I graduate from High School I plan to move to Toronto, Ontario to study Film Production at Ryerson University. Making films is my passion, and I want to turn what I love into a career; so I worked hard to make many videos over the last few years so I could to get into the school of my dreams. One day, I want to become a Producer or be the Director of my own television show – hopefully I can accomplish that within the next ten years. But, my life goal is to be able to help others; I want to inspire youth to do what they love, and to do so fearlessly. I want to accomplish this through public speaking or even through my media.

Do you have a role model? If so, who? And why?
One person I really admire is Wab Kinew; I went to two of his speeches before, once in Winnipeg, and another time at St. FX University. I was truly motivated by the message he delivered and the hope he brought to the people. Wab is a great role model for all First Nations people, and his charisma he brings to the stage is a skill I would love to adapt if I ever have the chance to speak in front of crowds like he does. He is multi-talented and aspires to do accomplish many great things in life, and already has. In my opinion, that is the best way to live.

What is your best memory from your high school years?
My fondest memory from my years in high school was being on the Improv Team and performing with them at provincials each year. We never won gold, or silver at that, but the bond you form with your teammates after the days of tournament is like no other. You cannot join a sports team, or any other club that gives you the feeling of family as much as Improv does. We go on stage not knowing how the night will transpire, all we know is that we have each other’s backs and we are going to make up a story as one.

What is the best thing about your school?
There are so many great things about Sackville High, but I have to say the best thing about my school is how much student involvement there is. There are clubs and teams for nearly everybody at our school, and that allows all students to have the chance to meet like-minded people, and feel part of something greater. We have clubs that range from: Dungeons and Dragons, chess, to the Green Team; and teams such as: Golf, Hockey, and Improv. What makes a school special is the spirit the student body has; if the school spirit is great, so is the classroom environment.

Who has made an impact on you?
I have had so many teachers that have encouraged me to take some of the chances I have taken and to be in the position I am in. My Improv coach and Drama teacher, Mrs. Morris, has taught me to be myself and to take risks, no matter how terrifying it seems. My English teacher, Ms. Engram, taught me to be resilient and she has inspired me to use my talent of story telling to inspire others. Even throughout Junior High I have had teachers that have pushed me to be the leader I am today, Mr. Hulshof and Mr. MacIlreith. These two men have helped me discover that I stand out for a good reason, and they always believed in me. These people, including many others, have impacted my life so greatly and I will always remember how much they have done for me.

Is there something you’d like to see in your school or community that isn’t there now?
One thing I would like to see more in my hometown, Membertou, is more opportunities for the youth and teens to dabble in the arts: Theatre, Music, Visual Arts, and even Filmmaking. These are things so many of our youth could be good at, but their talents will go undiscovered if they are never exposed to it. As First Nations people, story telling is in our blood and I know that there already plenty of opportunities for Mi’kmaq teens to play in sports, but sports is not always for everyone. Think about the useful life skills that come from doing arts, and how therapeutic it can be for an individual’s mental health. In the long run, having our youth involved with the Arts will benefit them more throughout their personal and professional lives; being more confident, having the ability to public speak, and to express themselves are just some of what most people will take away from it.

Words of advice, a personal favourite quote, or a thank-you?
My words of advice to anyone in high school is to seize every opportunity you get, and to join every club and team you can handle, but to find a healthy balance. By involving yourself in your school, you will discover that days pass faster and the work becomes less stressful. From what we know, we have only one chance at this life thing – so make every moment worth it.