Four Yukon youth receive Outstanding Youth Achievement Awards for remarkable service

Four youth have been awarded the Outstanding Youth Achievement Award for their devotion and contribution to their communities. 

The 2022 recipients are Alia Drummond from Haines Junction, Aliya Grant from Carcross, Gavin Howells from Whitehorse and Ava Irving-Staley from Whitehorse. 

The award recognizes these four young Yukoners for their positive impact in the territory, through fundraising, academics, volunteering and commitment to community activities. These four youth are role models for their peers and demonstrate the ways in which hard work and dedication inspire entire communities. 

Each recipient will receive a $250 cheque from the Youth Directorate, a certificate and medallion of recognition from the Commissioner of Yukon’s office, and each will be featured on a poster that will be distributed across the territory.

Congratulations to Alia Drummond, Aliya Grant, Ava Irving-Staley and Gavin Howells on receiving this year’s Outstanding Youth Achievement Award. Your dedication, hard work and commitment to your communities provide a model for young Yukoners across the territory and contribute to the vibrancy of our communities.

Premier Sandy Silver

Congratulations to these four wonderful youth for being role models to their peers. They are an inspiration to everyone in the Yukon.

Commissioner of Yukon Angélique Bernard

Quick facts 
  • Four Yukon youth are selected each year for this award.

  • The feature posters will be distributed in Yukon schools, and through the community.

  • These awards are sponsored by the Youth Directorate in partnership with the Office of the Commissioner of Yukon.


Aliya Grant

Aliya, 18, is a dedicated member of the Carcross community and Carcross/Tagish First Nation with interests in academics and social issues. Aliya created a peer mentorship program for young marginalized youth and was a representative at the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate (YNFED) conference. Additionally, Aliya was one of the youngest Yukon female First Nation representatives at the Canada World Youth Summit Conference in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2022. Aliya shows impressive initiative within her community by co-creating a new education program in Carcross to help students create customized learning environments that meet individual needs. Her accomplishments include the Emerging Leaders Award and a job with the YFNED. Aliya promotes her culture though drum making and painting, and by encouraging others to follow the Tlingit teachings and practices. Through her dedication to her community and those within it, Aliya has helped shape Carcross and spread positive change through the territory.


Ava Irving-Staley

Ava, 17, is being recognized for her outstanding commitment to athletics and nature, as well as her academic success. Ava is an environmentalist and passionate about nature, using the principals she learned in PASE: Plein Air et Sciences Experientielles 9 and Experimental Science (ES) 11. In her free time Ava is a volunteer coach in cycling, cross country skiing and biathlon. She also often volunteers for garbage cleanups and always helps with setting up for events. Ava represented the Yukon at the 2019 Western Canada Games in cycling, as well as the Arctic Winter Games in biathlon. In addition to sports, Ava is an accomplished artist, having painted murals in her school, as well as commission work for friends and family. Her writing in English classes regularly achieves high marks and she explores themes of cultural identity and history in her work. Ava is an honor roll student with high marks in multiple subjects, and she was recently accepted into Bishop’s University with a Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship. Other achievements include being awarded female athlete of the year, a grade level achievement in piano, student artist of the year award and numerous medals in cycling. Ava is an exemplary role model for health, fitness and dedication to art and academics. 


Alia Drummond

Alia, 15, is being recognized for her outstanding dedication to sports and recreation in the community of Haines Junction. She has represented the Yukon at various hockey tournaments across western Canada and was selected to the Arctic Winter Games U13 Female Soccer Team in 2020.  Alia uses her passion for sports to support other youth through volunteering to lead and coach soccer and hockey practices and clinics. She is a role model to young female hockey and soccer players due to her dedication, hard work, and sportsmanship. Alia has also been recognized for her academic achievements and projects. She placed first in the 2018 Science Fair for her project on stop motion. Alia also placed first at the 2019 Heritage Fair for her presentation on her great grandmother, and went on to win The People’s Choice Award for Best Graphic Design at the same event. Alia represents teamwork, kindness, dedication and creativity through her achievements. Because of her commitment to her goals and to her community, Alia serves as an excellent role model for other Yukon youth.


Gavin Howells

Gavin, 18, is being recognized for his outstanding effort and dedication both inside and outside the classroom. Gavin was the first Yukon student to receive gold medals in both the junior and senior categories of the Canada Wide Science Fair. He represented Team Canada at the MILSET International Science Fair in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and presented his research to Prime Minister Trudeau. Gavin was elected as a student representative for the 2022 graduating class of Vanier Catholic Secondary School and regularly makes the Principal’s List. Gavin has shown commitment to his community by volunteering as a judge in local science fairs, tutoring other students and presenting his scientific research about the health risks of vaping to 15 Yukon schools throughout 2021. He has a variety of interests, including being a member of the Yukon Canada Summer Games soccer team and playing drums in his school band. Gavin has demonstrated immense passion and dedication to the fields of science, music and athletics. His commitment to other students and the wellness of his community makes him an exemplary role model for youth in the Yukon.


Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications

Myra Nicks
Communications, Executive Council Office

News release #: