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2020 Leaders of Tomorrow

The Leaders of Tomorrow Awards presented by ATCO, honour outstanding young Leaders in Grande Prairie and the surrounding area. The awards are presented to young individuals between the Ages of 13 to 18 who exhibit dedication and excellence in their fields of volunteer work including school, community, social activism, athletics or arts; and, inspire the spirit of volunteerism in others. Recipients receive a Leaders of Tomorrow Awards trophy, a certificate, cash award of $100, and a $100 donation to the charity of their choice. The Awards where usually handed out in April at the annual National Volunteer Week Appreciation Luncheon, but the Luncheon was also postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A video compilation for the 2020 awards is available at https://youtu.be/ofCobE_1jGY.

The 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow are:

Ages 13 to 15

Zac Jinkling

Zac Jickling - Leadership Award

Zac Jickling is the winner of the 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Leadership.  Zac attends Sexsmith Secondary School.

Zac has distinguished himself through outstanding community involvement, demonstrating thoughtfulness, determination and a quiet strength in motivating and inspiring others to grow and develop their potentials. 

Zac is very involved in the Sexsmith multi 4-H club and has volunteered in numerous events the club has organized. He was part of the 4-H student exchange program and spent a year in Japan.  Each year Zac also volunteers for the United Church Fall Supper and the Sexsmith Annual food drive.

Zac continues to challenge himself to develop new skills.  He demonstrates leadership in his calm demeanor rising above circumstances and maintaining personal and group stability.  Zac continually sets an example by going the extra mile and doing more than what’s expected.   

As a young Leader of Tomorrow, Zac has demonstrated perseverance and confidence.  He is able to move people towards new possibilities and purposes, accepting, handling and thriving in the midst of change. 

We look forward to seeing his continued success.

Nikolas Slade

Nikolas Slade - Volunteering Award

Nikolas Slade is the winner of the 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Volunteerism.  Nikolas attends Sexsmith Secondary School. 

Nikolas is a trusted and reliable volunteer and gives his time to help the seniors in his community going above and beyond the usual role of a volunteer.  He is dedicated and committed to ensuring that seniors can remain independent and living in their homes for as long as possible.  No matter what the task Nikolas is willing to help part of which is making sure their sidewalks are clean, the leaves raked, and the snow is shoveled.  He is also involved in the Bread Run project in Sexsmith. 

This young man demonstrates how change begins with the smallest intentions for the benefit of the community; Nikolas is an inspiration for all ages as he works to lighten the load of many residents in Sexsmith.  

Akisa Mukaga

Akisa Mukaga - Advocacy Award

Akisa Mukaga is a grade 7 student at St. Josephs High School.   She has a passion for fighting social injustice and her unconditional respect for all people regardless of their circumstance has created in Akisa the drive and resolution to find her voice and advocate for social change and a better future for her generation.

Akisa has the courage and a willingness to do something in spite of fear.  She looks for the positive and builds from a position of strength and hope.  Her ability to recognize the significance of small acts in the effort to attain a greater outcome is showcased by her involvement in the community and her school. 

This past summer the progression of anti-blackness and antiracism movements encapsulated by the Black Lives Matter movement, the barrage of black deaths on TV at the hands of law enforcement coupled with her own experience of being the subject of racial bullying motivated Akisa to raise awareness in her own community.  Akisa and a friend collaborated with local organizers to plan for and lead the Black Lives Matter protest in Grande Prairie. 

Akisa is an avid champion for the rights of others.  She intervenes and supports her classmates and other students who are being subjected to bullying and discrimination.  She also manages the unsanctioned Grande Prairie BLM Facebook page.

Against a background of climate change, a global pandemic and racism Akisa is a change-maker for her generation. A young Leader of Tomorrow, she is raising her voice and proving that there is no age limit for social change.   

Mark Tagal - Perseverance Award

Mark is a young man from Valleyview, who initially was very shy, through volunteering he has found his voice in speaking up for those less fortunate. He has shown us that dedication and perseverance can have an incredible impact on personal growth and the community.

The winner of the 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Perseverance, Mark is a student at Hillside High School in Valleyview.

Mark is passionate about helping others: he volunteers in the school assisting with a variety of programs.  He also fundraises for local, national and international charities.

His infinite patience, kindness and empathy is evident in his time spent with residents in long-term care.  He is often found helping wherever and whenever needed within his community.


Through perseverance, hard work and commitment Mark has developed strengths and talents that he didn’t know he possessed.  He has improved the present for many, inspired others to develop a sense of pride and interest in volunteering and in so doing is ensuring a healthy secure future for his community.

Ages 16 to 18

Quinn Best

Quinn Best - Leadership Award

Quinn Best is the winner of the 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Leadership. Quinn attends Beaverlodge Regional High School. 

Quinn is an exemplary role model who empowers and supports others to achieve their very best at whatever they do.  She motivates, inspires and encourages her peers and younger students to give back to the community by leading with example and promoting civic pride. 

Quinn is an exemplary role model who empowers and supports others to achieve their very best at whatever they do.  She motivates, inspires and encourages her peers and younger students to give back to the community by leading with example and promoting civic pride. 

Never one to shy away from what is needed to be done; Quinn is involved in a wide range of volunteer activities in Beaverlodge.  She is a Youth Leader for various organizations as well as an assistant volleyball coach.  She is often found working in the office or the canteen at her school, helping out with the community activities including the Beaverlodge Food drive and is a involved member with the Blazing Emeralds 4-H. 

Quinn finds solutions to challenges and embodies caring, understanding and kindness in everything she does.  She focuses on the strength and resiliency of her community, demonstrates responsibility and drive and actively looks for opportunities to help build the future of her school and community.  

This year has brought change and anxiety to many, clearly exposing that we live in a turbulent and uncertain world.  Young leaders such as Quinn demonstrate the hope and pride of their generation.  We know that tomorrow will be in good hands with her

Shaen Gignac

Shaen Gignac - Volunteering Award

Shaen Gignac is an outstanding member of the Valleyview community and the recipient for the 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Volunteerism. Shaen attends Hillside High School.

Shaen makes his daily life an opportunity to help others.  He starts every school morning arriving before everyone else to ensure that all is ready for 250 students to eat breakfast.  He has done this for the last three years.  As an active member of the Christian Leadership Group at his school, Shaen, volunteers at the local daycare, visits residents in long-term care and other community activities.  He also helps fundraise for a wide variety of charities and causes.    

Shaen can be counted on to get the job done; he is representative of his generation of change makers, empathic, responsible and always striving to better the lives of others. 

We commend Shaen for his passion and drive to bring about positive change through volunteering.

Rosie Plant - Advocacy Award

Sometimes advocacy doesn’t mean picking up placards and marching in demonstrations, sometimes it means picking up the banner for one person and in so doing one changes the trajectory of acceptance for many others. 

Rosie Plante displays a seriousness and resolve far beyond her years.  She is incredibly hard working and completely dedicated to her siblings. At a very young age she became the champion for an older sibling struggling with mental health and identity issues.  Her advocacy has shone a light on the need for better local services and support for the families of Transgender people.   

Determined to make a better life for herself and her siblings, Rosie has worked tirelessly to both graduate early from Charles Spencer High School and to provide financially to make a move to Edmonton possible for herself and her sibling. 

In all of this, Rosie still finds time for volunteering. When asked why she volunteers, Rosie said “It makes me acknowledge how much I have in life and I am happy to give back.” 

Change starts with one person willing to take the first step towards action. Leading by example through determination, courage and holding true to her own values, goals and ideals Rosie has demonstrated the power of youth for social change.

Natasha Manahan

Natasha Manahan - Perseverance Award

The meaning of hidden gem is something that is a rare find that not many people know about: a most fitting description for Natasha Manahan. This quiet, soft spoken young lady is the first to step up to help in any situation.

Life has not always been easy for Natasha, and for some this would be an excuse not to give back not so for Natasha. Natasha has volunteered for several years at the Street Performers Festival, Grande Prairie Friendship Center, as well as other agencies within our community.

Working hard, following her convictions, commitment and dreaming big are the cornerstones of this young woman’s belief system and despite obstacles she has had to overcome Natasha’s determination, courage and genuine compassion for others has helped to inspire others to also give back. She is a shining example to other young people and has worked incredibly hard to get where she is today.

We are so very pleased to be able to recognize this remarkable young woman with the 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow Award for Perseverance.

Congratulations to the 2020 Leaders of Tomorrow!