Each edition of YMM Parent is made possible by the gifted writers whose contributions fill the pages of the magazine.
We are filled with gratitude for these writers who have helped tell the story of our region.
Afeefa Ahmad, a recent graduate of Westwood Community High School, has called Fort McMurray home for the majority of her life. As she starts her journey into post-secondary education, her unwavering commitment to community service remains a defining part of her character.
Over the years, Afeefa has actively dedicated her time to volunteering with various organizations, both within her school and across the RMWB community. Whether it was through providing academic support to students as a peer tutor or by her active involvement on the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, Afeefa has embraced numerous opportunities to support youth in a multitude of ways.
As Afeefa looks ahead to the future, she remains determined to continue her pursuit of creating a lasting, positive impact on her community, and serving as an inspiration to the youth.
Ouswa Ali is a first-year university student at the University of Alberta, studying Commerce specifically Business Technology Management and hopes to attend Law School following her undergraduate degree. She has been part of MACOY for two years and has been a volunteer for the Girls Inc. mentoring program. Her passion for advocacy has allowed her to give a speech in front of FMPSD staff on Islamaphobia as well as give an interview for Mix 103.7. She has a passion for community involvement, writing, reading and advocacy which she hopes to continue to pursue at University and at her home in Wood Buffalo.
Sadie Antoine is a young and aspiring artist surrounded by creative perspective. Sadie loves playing volleyball, drawing, and spending time with her dog in her spare time. She embraces her culture and is a proud member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. Sadie would like to one day publish her own poetry book and plans to continue creating.
Raasi Bambhania is a grade nine student who attends Westwood Community High School. She is eager to meet new people, play volleyball, and volunteer. In the past, Raasi has participated in the Macoy Advisory Council on Youth and loves to help the community. Taking part in Macoy has led Raasi to many opportunities one of them being, having the ability to interview ambitious people and write about them. She hopes to keep serving the community and move forward for it’s betterment!
Eva Brown is a 10th-grade student at Ecolé McTavish High School. They are an active member of the community, having been a part of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth. They’re a member of local theatre, working backstage on several Keyano Theatre productions, most recently Clue. Eva hopes to get a Bachelor’s in education after high school and become a teacher here in Fort McMurray.
Jarid Fileccia and Mercy Jodoin
Mercy Jodoin is a graphic designer who has a love for helping her community. She advocates for inclusion for our special needs community and for our local youth.
Jarid Fileccia is a mechanic and entrepreneur who has an extremely expansive skill set ranging between automotive to heavy duty mechanics, to leadership and Excel use. He is passionate about helping our local teens and uses his skill set to teach our community crucial skills.
Jenn Flynn has been with APPLE Schools from the very beginning, wearing many hats along the way. She has been a school health facilitator at Lee Ridge School, the Fort McMurray regional manager, then APPLE Schools manager until earning the executive director title in 2016.
She studied physical education at the University of Alberta and has a comprehensive understanding of working with children to get them excited about moving. She brings to APPLE Schools a high level of enthusiasm for promoting health and thoughtful leadership that has expanded the organization to a growing number of schools across four provinces. In 2017, she was recognized by Alberta Magazine as a Top 40 Under 40 for her ability to take a small research project to a national, award-winning charitable organization. Jenn stays active by spending time outside with her two children, riding her bike, and playing ringette. She loves to read, eat delicious food, travel, and watch sports. Go Oilers!
Hanna Fridhed-Campbell with Pride YMM is originally from Sweden and made Wood Buffalo her home in 2013. She has since developed a deep love for this region, its beauty and its vibrant arts community. Outside her work with Pride, she is the Artistic Director for theatre company Swamp Rat Experience, serves on RACIDE, and occasionally dabbles in the literary arts.
Nils Hognestad is a writer, producer, director, voiceover artist and actor. He received his bfa from the Toronto metropolitan (formerly ryerson) university and his mfa from lamda (London academy of music and dramatic art). He has a Leo award for best supporting actor for ‘a clüsterfünke Christmas’ and is currently producing ‘fort Macbeth’, the first film for his production company.
Maharshi Kadia is a Grade 11 student at Westwood Community High School. Maharshi’s interest range from sports to STEM, and he really enjoys playing volleyball and cricket. Maharshi likes combining his passion for coding and technology with his passion for medicine, and he wants to pursue a career in biotechnology. Robotics are another major hobby of his. Overall, Maharshi loves to do a wide range of activities, and he can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.
Diya Laha is a rising Grade 12 student at Westwood Community High School. Her devotion to creating change within the community is unconditional. She has been a committed member and volunteer of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth for four years and loves engaging with her peers to create projects that better help the community.
Diya enjoys the art of writing, and she is grateful to have utilized her hobby to help uplift youth like herself within the community. Besides writing, she loves to read and go on runs. In the future, she hopes to continue creating change and impacting the community in any way she can.
Heteshree Lala is a ninth-grade student at Westwood Community High School. She enjoys robotics, badminton, volleyball, and playing the piano.
Heteshree is passionate about giving back to the community and was previously a member of the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth (MACOY). In 2019, Heteshree was recognized as one of the Top 20 under 20 award recipients by YMM Parent Magazine.
Finn is currently a full-time student at the University of Alberta, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Art & Design, with plans to pursue their Masters degree in Norway. In their free time, you can find them cuddling with dogs, listening to Critical Role, combing through antique shops, and drawing up plans for future projects.
Urvi Modha is a grade 9 student attending Westwood Community High School. She enjoys badminton, volleyball, and coding. She was on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth (MACOY) before. Through MACOY, Urvi has received the opportunity to write about a youth leader of Wood Buffalo. Urvi strives to give back to her community through volunteering in different organizations.
Danielle Oke is a Grade 11 student at Holy Trinity High School in French Immersion. Born in Fort McMurray, she has lived there her whole life and has been a member of MACOY since 2022. Passionate about giving back and working to better her community, she enjoys volunteering and is an avid believer in combating social injustices. Her other interests include visual art, music, reading, and video editing.
Vineet Parikh is a Grade 11 student at Westwood Community High School, who is recognized for his unwavering passion for computer science and entrepreneurship. His relentless curiosity propels him to explore the realm of technology in pursuit of innovative solutions to real-world challenges. Beyond the confines of the classroom, Vineet actively contributes to his community through his membership in a STEM organization known for hosting annual hackathons and entrepreneurship events. Earlier this year, Vineet attended SHAD Canada, where he sharpened his leadership and problem-solving abilities which he intends to use to further exemplify his commitment to his community.
Curtis J. Phillips
Residing in Fort McMurray since 1982, Curtis J. Phillips is a productive sports journalist in print/electronic mediums. He enjoys researching local sports history and was Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Sports Writer from 2008-2019. Recognized as Canada’s Basketball Historian, he is an advocate for community volunteerism.
Sahar Saifee is a freelance writer and communications professional who is compelled to grasp the world around her and put it into writing and photography. She has worked and volunteered as a communications advisor, social media coordinator and as a writer for local newspapers and organizations in Edmonton and Fort McMurray. An avid reader, news junkie and passionate writer, she always admired the path of storytelling. Sahar enjoys the world of arts, fashion and culture.
Suhana Sanze is a Grade 12 student who is passionate about advocating a strong youth voice in our region. Through her work on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth (MACOY), she has participated in hosting and organizing youth-led events to bring awareness to important youth issues in our community.
In addition to volunteering, Suhana’s interests include writing, education, and self-development and is passionate about the sciences, mathematics, and technology. Her admiration for writing and education has led her to receive an award for scoring top 50 in the 2023 Words in Motion Poetry Contest and the school Honours with Distinction Award. Suhana hopes young people will continue to create significant change in our region and positively contribute to the betterment of society in the future.
Amelia Souliere’s journey with APPLE Schools began in 2008 as a research coordinator for the ground-breaking research project that proved APPLE Schools’ impact on communities. As APPLE Schools’ initial research project evolved and expanded into Fort McMurray, Amelia became a school health facilitator at St. Elizabeth Seton School until 2013. Ten years later, Amelia is thrilled to be back working for such an incredible project!
She holds a Bachelor of Physical Education and Recreation from the University of Alberta in her arsenal. Prior to returning to APPLE Schools, she was a grant writer and executive assistant at YWCA Edmonton. She has always valued health promotion so the opportunity to be part of this meaningful work that benefits youth and families brought her back to the team. Amelia aspires to lead by example for her three daughters to show that physical activity at any age is an essential part of a healthy life. Her spare time is filled with playing, coaching, or watching ringette, ball hockey, soccer or whichever other physical activity is happening that season.
Momin Syed is the Communications Coordinator for the Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD). Momin has been a FMPSD volunteer since 2011, during this time he has helped organize numerous Robotics, Inventor’s Fair, Multimedia and Coding events. Momin is a Miner’s Heart recipient and a Composite High School graduate. Momin believes in the power of stories; he loves collecting them and telling them to anyone who will listen. There is so much knowledge and growth that comes from sharing stories. He is incredibly thrilled to have this opportunity and looks forward to “Doing What’s Best for Kids”.