Ignite 2023 motivates youth at Vancouver’s David Thompson Secondary School

The presenters. Photos by David Thompson Student Photographer - Yuki Wong

OVER 600 students at David Thompson Secondary School in Vancouver on Wednesday took part in a career exploration event — “David Thompson Secondary School’s IGNITE 2023. ‘Your Journey: How did you get to where you are today?'” — about different paths that lead people to their chosen careers.

The 7th annual IGNITE career day event was all about professionals sharing what ignited a spark within them to their career path.  This was the first IGNITE event organized in Vancouver.  This year’s IGNITE planning committee wanted presenters to share the journey they took to choose the career they are in now.

By hearing from a variety of professionals in the community, the hope is that it sparks an interest for youth to pursue.  By professionals sharing their personal story, the organizing committee hoped students would learn a variety of ways to be successful in a career that makes them happy.

The administration and staff of the school, along with the Association of South Asian Professionals of British Columbia (ASAPBC), provided the students with an opportunity to hear from over 40 presenters from various organizations in over 11 breakout sessions for students in grades 10 and 11.

Artist Jag Nagra

Throughout the morning, the grade 10 and grade 11 students attended different breakout sessions with speakers from a variety of careers including: health, sciences, business/accounting, athletics/sports science, criminal justice, public safety, arts, graphic design, education, government, politics, law, tech and real estate.

This event could not have been a success without all the following organizations dedicating their time to take part: Kids Play, Surrey Eagles Hockey team, City of Vancouver, Future Ready Minds, Just Cakes Bakeshop, River District Physio, Walmart Pharmacy, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services, Transit Police, South Vancouver Community Police office, Vancouver Police Department, ICBC and many others.

Principal Nick Akrap noted: “The event was very well received by students. It was great to welcome community members to David Thompson who want to make a difference and get youth motivated for their future.  The presenters did a wonderful job engaging students in a variety of ways.”

IGNITE organizing committee (L-R): Principal Nick Akrap, Rupy Dhaliwal, Harvey Kooner, Stephanie Tsui.

Jindy Bhalla, President of ASAP, said:  “After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, ASAP is pleased to have been part of the return of the annual IGNITE career exploration event for youth.  This year the conference focused on presentations about the different avenues that led people to their chosen professions and what ignited that spark within.  In addition, by presenting young people with exposure to a wide range of diverse career options, our hope is to ignite an interest in them in careers which they may not have thought of.  

“ASAP was formed to allow passionate members of the community to channel their energy into positive projects.  We welcomed being involved in such an event that can inspire the leaders of tomorrow and look forward to being a part of next year’s IGNITE event.”

ASAP was formed in 2007 by a group of concerned South Asian professionals from various disciplines and they include lawyers, engineers, brokers, financiers, doctors, notaries, and media and local business people.  The vision of ASAP is to exhibit social responsibility through positive action in the general community, foster leadership by acting as role models and mentors, and advocate for social issues in British Columbia, all in a professional manner focusing solely on need.

The success of David Thompson Secondary School’s IGNITE 2023 career exploration event was achieved with the collective teamwork of David Thompson Secondary School administration, staff and student volunteers and ASAP who dedicated their time and experience.

If you are looking to make a difference and would like to be involved in this type of event, you can contact Harvey Kooner, Association of South Asian Professionals of BC, at harveykooner1@gmail.com

Photos below by David Thompson student photographer: Vicky Gao:




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