Encounters with Canada
Bianca Cazon one of three Simpson students off to youth centre

by Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Feb 27/98) - Bianca Cazon is about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

Towards the end of next month, the 15-year-old Thomas Simpson high school student will board an airplane for the long trip south to Ottawa. Her mission? A one-week stay at the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre as part of the Encounters with Canada program.

"It will be the furthest south I've ever gone," she says. "Coming from a small community to such a big city will be a change and a new experience."

Once there, Cazon will live in a residence with fellow students from every Canadian province and territory. The centre follows a weekly quota which means that the student breakdown will mirror the population of the country-at-large. Of the 130 participants weekly, 35 are from Ontario, 28 from Quebec, 14 from B.C., 11 Albertans, seven from Saskatchewan, eight from Manitoba, 20 from the Maritimes, six from Newfoundland and Labrador as well as one each from the Yukon and NWT.

As part of the week's activities, students will visit the House of Commons and Senate, receive a tour of the national capital region and have a hands-on chance to examine important themes like arts and culture, science and technology, journalism and law, among other themes.

Former prime ministers Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney and sitting Prime Minister Jean Chretien, have all taken time out to visit students at the centre. Other speakers have included rock star Alanis Morissette and astronaut Roberta Bondar.

For her part, Cazon will be visiting the centre during a week when law will be the main focus. She says she chose this because of an interest in pursuing a career in the field in the years ahead.

Besides being a little nervous, this being her first solo visit away from home, Cazon says she's excited by her trip. And, she also said she wanted to thank the Deh Cho Divisional Board of Education for sponsoring her.

Have fun in Ottawa Bianca.

Two other students from Thomas Simpson high school will also be heading to the centre this year.