L. A. Matheson Secondary School’s Mustang Justice Program bags Surrey Mayor’s award

(L-R) Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner, Annie Ohana, Gurpreet Kaur Bains, Laurie Larsen – Surrey School Board Chairperson, Superintendent Shawn Gill – Surrey RCMP, and Rex Hayes – Principal of L.A. Matheson Secondary School.

L.A. Matheson Secondary School’s Mustang Justice Program was officially recognized on Wednesday as the inaugural winner of the City of Surrey Mayor’s Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility. The award recognizes an agency, school or program that is making a significant and positive impact to the community and our youth.

“The Mustang Justice Program is a prime example of a local program that positively engages our youth and helps them develop civic responsibility as a core value,” said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. “The program fully encompasses the ideals behind this award of respect, cooperation, citizenship, innovation, civic pride, community impact and inspiring others to act. We are pleased to shine a light on the Mustang Justice Program and the dedicated teachers and students who are a part of it.”

The Mustang Justice Program was formed by Annie Ohana, Social Justice Program and Aboriginal Department Head at L.A. Matheson Secondary School, and is supported by Gurpreet Kaur Bains, Language Department Head. Under the leadership of Annie and Gurpreet, the program has evolved into a student led social justice initiative with Grade 8-12 students.

“It’s not at all surprising to me that Annie and Gurpreet would be behind an initiative being recognized for supporting youth, good citizenship and the community,” says Surrey Board of Education Chairperson Laurie Larsen. “They have been the driving force behind many social responsibility programs in their school community and Mustang Justice encompasses that. I also commend and thank the Mayor for initiating the Mayor’s Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility, as a great way to promote and reward such important work in our community.”

The core purpose of the program is to foster responsibility in high school students and a desire to improve the community. A key feature of the program is its focus on social service, social responsibility and dedication to systemic solutions to community issues. Mustang Justice initiatives are diverse and include Pride Week, Indigenous Week celebrations, anti-racism events, soccer camps, community events and mentorship.

As part of the award recognition, Mustang Justice received $10,000 as a contribution towards the continued operation and enhancement of the program. The award is part of the Mayor’s Action Plan on Gang Violence Prevention, a strategic initiative under the City’s Public Safety Strategy.