ACE headed to TEDxChilliwack

ACE students Leslie Johnson, Emma Potts, and Frances Oliver will take the stage at the upcoming tryouts for TEDxChilliwack.

ACE students Leslie Johnson, Emma Potts, and Frances Oliver will take the stage at the upcoming tryouts for TEDxChilliwack.

By Erin Knutson | BC Local News | Original Article

Three ACE students prepare for TEDxChilliwack tryouts on Feb. 16

Leadership is a big deal and these students have it in spades with three candidates from Agassiz Centre of Education (ACE) heading toTEDxChilliwack tryouts on Feb. 16. 

Emma Potts, Frances Oliver and Leslie Johnson met up with The Observer to extend an invitation to their big debut on the world stage of TED Talks and to discuss their topics as they prepare to enter the intimidating arena of public speaking. 

Each, is preparing to speak on a socially and culturally relevant subject that is difficult and even personal to them and they are willing to do it in front of a live audience with guidance from their dedicated principal Sandy Balascak. 

Potts will be examining the effects of media in today’s society as well as the current drug problem youth are facing with the rise in overdoses in the province and the emergence of Fentanyl. 

Johnson will bring her life struggles and hardship dealing with a broken family to the stage as she discusses how she got out of a bad situation and on to the right path. 

Oliver will speak on the issue of youth being left out of critical medical decisions for family members (Parents) on life support. 

The students’ objective is to be a voice for youth and more importantly to present ACE (The only alternate school to enter tryouts), as a solid contender with other schools. 

“We want to make a difference and we want to bring solutions to problems and ideas on how we can fix them,” said Oliver, a sentiment echoed by Potts and Johnson.

The message they wish to impart to the public is that they are strong, intelligent, studious, going places and willing to take on new challenges while putting themselves out there. 

Often there is a negative connotation that goes along with alternate students and a stigma that labels them as problem children, a label, these three students are quickly helping to dispel with their campaign to bring awareness to the community about their strengths, not only as survivors, but as innovators and future leaders.

Balascak affirms that there are no problem children, only children with problems, and she’s backing her students 100 per cent while preparing them for success on the stage and in life. 

The girls have an air of confidence about them, a can do attitude, while exuding an energy that is simply, infectious. 

“I think we have an interesting perspective as alternate kids and we have life experience that will give us an edge — we have street smarts,” said Oliver. 

Tickets are free for all interested in seeing the girls try out. Registration is required at