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Local student wins Queen's Golden Jubilee Award

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Fajar Khan has a prestigious award to add to her already extensive resume. She recently won the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award, and is one of only eight Alberta youth to receive the honour.

“The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Citizenship Award honours students who have contributed to their communities through outstanding citizenship, leadership, public service and voluntary endeavour.” The prestigious honour comes with a $5000 scholarship.

“I had known about it a while ago, but had forgotten, so this was just amazing,” said an excited Fajar via a phone interview in Pakistan, where she’s on vacation.

Fajar, 19, is a well-known name. A Westwood Community High School alumna, and Keyano College student, she has done extensive work to champion mental health among local students.

“My involvement with mental health initiatives started when I saw many people struggling with mental health issues. I would see my peers struggling to find someone to talk to and not be able to understand what was going on in their head. As I joined the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Youth - MACOY, I found an outlet to advocate for what I believed in. With the help of some mentors, I started an initiative through MACOY called Youth Against Stigma where our central idea revolved around perfection is perception. As a group we worked to create an initiative where everyone would realize that the stigma around mental health often leaves people isolated and it’s okay to not be okay,” shared Fajar.

She took this advocacy to the community volunteering for the Canadian Mental Health Association, and then through the Keyano College Student Mental Health Committee, which she eventually chaired.

“The CMHA made me realize how many resources were available for individuals that were often not taken advantage of. At Keyano, I worked alongside the members of the Student Mental Health Committee to ensure students on campus had access to proper resources including the wellness coordinators and having a student food bank,” added Fajar, who is now headed to the University of Alberta for her BSc with a minor in Gender Studies. She plans to pursue a medical career.

And, even before entering the U of A campus, she put her name forward, and was elected the Vice President External for the Health and Wellness Movement (HWM). This group works year-round to promote the mental health of students.

Fajar also volunteers for the local mosque’s youth core committee co-leading several initiatives for Muslim youth, and for World Hijab Day Fort McMurray.

Congratulations Fajar!


Kiran Malik-Khan is the Communications Manager for the Fort McMurray Public School District, and national award-winning communications professional. She is a freelance journalist, a communications professional, and a poet. She loves sharing stories about unique people, events, and organizations. Kiran is the co-founder and volunteer public relations director for NorthWord magazine, Fort McMurray's first and only literary magazine. She is also the President/Co-founder of World Hijab Day Fort McMurray. A proud Pakistani-Canadian who grew up in New Jersey, she is a fierce advocate of Fort McMurray, multiculturalism, women's rights, and equality for all. Got a story nobody is telling? Send her ideas: DM and follow on Twitter @KiranMK0822.