With political ambitions in tow, Pani Ayoubizadeh walks across the rainbow crosswalk on her way to school. Ayoubizadeh will be the first West Coast student to attend the British Columbia Youth Parliament from Dec. 27-31. (Nora O’Malley photo)

With political ambitions in tow, Pani Ayoubizadeh walks across the rainbow crosswalk on her way to school. Ayoubizadeh will be the first West Coast student to attend the British Columbia Youth Parliament from Dec. 27-31. (Nora O’Malley photo)

West Coast student earns BC Youth Parliament seat

Pani Ayoubizadeh is joining the virtual session on Dec. 27-31

Editor’s Note: This event was to be held at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria, but switched to a virtual setting in light of the provincial restrictions announced on Dec. 21.

Ucluelet Secondary School Grade 12 student Pani Ayoubizadeh is joining youth from around the province for the 93rd British Columbia Youth Parliament (BCYP).

For five days from Dec. 27 to 31, Ayoubizadeh, 17, will be immersed in a simulation of the Westminster Parliamentary System, legislating bills that govern the organization’s community service projects for the remainder of the year.

“I’m so excited. I really want to see how it feels like when you go to a community of youth that have the same interests and passions as you. I definitely can make so many friends. It’s going to be a huge learning opportunity for me to explore Canada, actually, and a different democratic country,” said Ayoubizadeh.

Ayoubizadeh was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. With her dad working in book publications for the Persian government, politics has always been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. A couple years ago, she moved to Ucluelet when her mom was offered a job at Black Rock Resort. Ayoubizadeh speaks four languages (Persian, English, Arabic and French) and dreams about becoming the next Provincial Health Officer or Minister of Health.

“Dr. Bonnie Henry, I really want to become her one day. I really consider her in my life. I feel like she is a real powerful woman and I love her ideas and all the things that she does in B.C.’s health. I think that it’s because of her that the healthcare is really good in B.C.,” she said.

Social Studies department head Kevin Nixon helped Ayoubizadeh with her BCYP application.

“She showed a real passion and eagerness to learn about democracy and the structures of our provincial and federal governments and our municipal governments as well. With that enthusiasm, I thought she would be a great fit to bring to the youth parliament in Victoria,” said Nixon.

“She will be the first (Ucluelet Secondary) student to go to the B.C. Parliament,” he notes.

“There are 97 spots, it’s based on the number of seats in the provincial legislature, and I’m assuming there were hundreds and hundreds of applicants.”

Ayoubizadeh thinks it was the fact that she is an international student that made her application stand out.

“I can give different ideas because I am from a different culture, a different background. I believe cultural diversity is an important characteristic of a healthy democratic society,” she said.

She went on to thank her parents, principal, and all her teachers at Ucluelet Secondary for helping her to achieve her goals.

“They are the ones who are always there for me and support me wholeheartedly. They are an important part of my life as they shape an important part of my identity and I wouldn’t be here without their unwavering supports,” she said.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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