Adalie Gillespie

High school student


Home Community: Winnipeg, MB.

Cultural Identity: Métis.

Current Position: High school student.

Roles/Responsibilities: Attend class, apply for jobs, help with housework and attend therapy.

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
When I was in the 10th grade, I almost gave up on school. I wasn’t going to class or doing any of the work my teachers gave me. I felt unhappy, and a lot was going on in my life. Following my parents’ split, a move to a poor-quality house, personal losses, and compounded stress from online learning and bullying at school, I lost my identity and stopped attending school.

It was only in the late spring, when I got the chance to switch to a new school for the next year, that I started to feel better. I knew I didn’t have to worry about dropping out anymore. Starting at Jameswood, an alternative school, was scary at first, and it took some time to find my groove. But by October, I had made new friends, was actually doing my schoolwork, and was getting great grades.

The change happened because of the support from my mom, my school, and my therapist. They all helped me get back into school and get my life on track again. Jameswood was a place that really helped me when I was at my lowest and where I learned to be myself again. The school also connected me to my Indigenous roots and made me feel proud of my culture, which I used to be ashamed of. My teachers involved me in Indigenous cultural events, and my friend Anastasia showed me every day that it’s good to be Indigenous. She would do smudging at school and share stories that made me proud of where I come from.

As for what drove me to want to become a lawyer, it was my mom. She stood by me through everything, always taking care of me. She taught me that doing my best is what counts, not being perfect. She’d say “finished not perfect” to calm me down when I was stressing over schoolwork. Her support shifted the way I looked at challenges, from having to get everything just right, to understanding the importance of simply seeing things through.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
I transferred schools and learned how to make friends, I got involved in student voice and attended school everyday. In a way I put my big girl shoes on and started to put myself out there.