Thunder Bay students stand up and stand together

Third annual We Stand Up conference brings 1,400 students together.

 CBC News Posted: May 05, 2016 7:30 AM ET

Almost 1,400 students, from 30 local elementary and secondary schools, attended the third annual We Stand Up Student conference in Thunder Bay, Ont. for a day of education and inspiration on Wednesday.

This year’s key message was ‘How can you be a good human being?’

Hannah Smith, 17, is a grade 12 student from Hammerskjold High School, and on the executive team for the 2016 We Stand Up student conference in Thunder Bay. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

“The slogan of being a good human being really translates to student life and keeping kids engaged in school,” says Hannah Smith, a member of the We Stand Up executive team and student trustee for the Lakehead District School Board.

“If there’s anything that I hope people can take away from today is the confidence, and the drive, and the motivation to do something that they feel really passionate about,” Smith said.

Talitha Tolles was one of 12 speakers helping motivate the students at this year’s event.

She’s the ambassador of the We Stand together campaign, which focuses on bridging gaps between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal youth.

“This day to me is really important, because I have the opportunity to share a piece of my culture, and being able to share that and give a voice to young people who have had that voice taken away is really important,” she said.

Talitha Tolles, Aboriginal programming coordinator and motivational speaker with Free The Children, addressed students at the event. (Clare Bonnyman/CBC)

It’s a privilege, Tolles said, to reach out to youth and remind them of the power that they can and already have. “Being a good person is taking those things that you really love and sharing those gifts and talents with other people,” she said.

“It’s not just labelling yourself as a good person, you have to work on it every single day.”