Over 600 students from all across Alberta joined in the 10 Peak Innovation Xchange yesterday (October 17). Ècole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School’s EcoVision Club alumni students took part in the event as keynote speakers.   

Former ESLCHS EcoVision students gave a presentation on ‘Connecting to the Environment and Developing Student Leaders’ including Taylor Perez, EcoVision Alumni, FOGG Volunteer and First-year Student at Red Deer Polytechnic and one of EcoVision’s earlier students, Charles Nokes.  

The high school’s environmental club is well known for constructing a placing solar panels on the roof of the school, constructing a green house, creating a goat barn for students to learn animal husbandry, and most recently for their Educational Pollinator Indigenous Carbon Capture (EPICC) garden called Okawimaw Asksisis.  

 “Basically, my role as an EcoVision alumni is to give my experience in EcoVision and let people understand how impactful the club is,” said Perez.   

 Another EcoVision Alumni was presenting on behalf of Alberta Youth Leaders for Environmental Education.  

“AYLEE has a presentation today about the role of energy in the education system as part of the curriculum, but also part of more practical things like transportation and school infrastructure. I will be here presenting on that,” said Sneha Jigo, EcoVision Alumni and Youth Coordinator for the Alberta Council for Environmental Education joined the conference and to give a presentation.   

The event brought together Indigenous elders, students, industry, post secondary schools, and government to have discussions on sustainability and what opportunities are available in local industries and organizations for students.   

The conference was originally supposed to held in Red Deer but teacher at École Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School and founder of EcoVision environmental club, Steven Schultz offered to host the conference in honour of being among the Top 10 Schools in the World for Environmental Action. 

“We’re so grateful for Ten Peaks and their belief in us. They were willing to host this conference from Red Deer into Lacombe. It’s incredible. It brings me almost to tears to think about all of the community people that are behind it. It takes an amazing school and leaders in our school that believe in me and believe in my students that we can do incredible things,” said Schultz during the conference kick-off breakfast.  

The breakfast was attended by local dignitaries including Education Minister Adrianna LaGrange, City of Lacombe Mayor Grant Creasey, and Lacombe Councillors Don Gullekson and Cora Hoekstra.  

“Most of all I am just really grateful to these individuals. They put in thousands of hours of extra work. There’s a new batch of students this year. We have hopes of tackling food security as our project this year,” he added.  

The alumni students of EcoVision agree that they remain involved with the club because of their passions and because the club holds a special place in their hearts.  

I think it's really, the relationships that we've made. We're all still friends with each other. Mr. Schultz is still very much our mentor, and EcoVision very much feels like home base,” said Jigo.  

Another Alumni and volunteer of EcoVision named Chelsea Rawling Smeltzer says the club has helped with her mental health.  

“I have friends here. EcoVision like a second family to me. I had a pretty hard life before coming to EcoVision. It still is my reason to get out of bed everyday,” said Rawling Smeltzer.  

A variety of breakout sessions and workshops took place dealing with topics including carbon and climate, alternative energy, environmental leaders, and inspiring innovations. The event also gave students the opportunity to interact with post-secondary schools and other exhibitor booths throughout the day.