I would like to thank all of the businesses who have helped me to come this far with my journey to nationals!

THANK YOU TO:

Stricklands

Moose Winooskis

Monthill Golf Course

Greens at Renton Golf Course

Fescues Edge Golf Course

Sandusk Golf Course

Crystals Hair Care

Boston Pizza South Brantford

The Keg Brantford

Gus and Guidos

Best Western Brantford

Townline Variety

Eagle’s Nest

Bomberry Farm

Glenn Styres

Ohsweken Speedway

Dan the Mushroom Man

National Grocers Cash and Carry

Metro

Freshco

Carl’s Meats

Bowman’s Produce

And special thank you to Robin and Lorraine from the speedway! I appreciate all your help!

As well, I would like to thank my wonderful PR Manager, my good ole father, Darrell McKay.

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Promotional poster for OUT at Night 2015.

Promotional poster for OUT at Night 2015.

“Egale’s OUT at Night is a national fundraising and awareness campaign to engage Canadians on the crisis of LGBTQ2S youth homelessness and to support Egale’s work towards a related national strategy. The campaign invites participants across the country to sleep outside on the night of May 30th, briefly experiencing the struggles that over 6000 LGBTQ2S youth experience in Canada every year.”

On May 30th, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in this event. I was not able to attend the national event in Toronto, since I was out of town, but I still got out a blanket, put on some warm socks and slept outside. It was actually really scary. I hate the dark. Nocturnal animals scare the poop out of me, and I was really cold. It was an eye opening experience, and it helped me to appreciate what I have even more. More importantly, I had the opportunity to raise money for this great cause. This event addresses two issues that I am insanely passionate about, homeless youth as well as issues surrounding the LGBT+ community.

I definetly plan on attending the national event next year, and hopefully I can surpass the amount I raised this year!

Thanks for reading :)

Aleria

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This is a long post, so be warned!

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the performing arts. Dance, music, theatre. At some point in my life, I’ve been involved in all three. I love them all, and it’s the performing arts I have to thank for having the confidence to get onstage! So here’s a (sort of?) brief overview of my history in dance, music and drama.

Dance

At the 2008 Showstoppers East Coast National Competition at Myrtle Beach.

At the 2008 Showstoppers East Coast National Competition at Myrtle Beach.

I’ve been dancing since I was two. I started with ballet at the local dance and modelling studio my mom went to for modelling classes when she was my age. Later on, I started tap as well. This past year, I took lyrical, tap, ballet and jazz. When I was about seven, I was recommended for the pre-competitive jazz team. That year, I started with pre-comp, and now, eight years later, I’ve competed around 20 times in Toronto, New York, Myrtle Beach and Anaheim. Thanks to dance, I found my passion of being onstage and performing. After 13 years of dance, I never have to worry about being nervous when I’m onstage and the centre of attention.

Music

I’ve played four instruments in my life (not very well, I might add). Instrumental music isn’t quite my strong suit, but it’s never stopped me from trying. I can barely count this, but when I was in grade one, for about four months I took recorder lessons every Wednesday for half an hour at 3:30. A recorder is that little squeaky front ways flute looking thing. I wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it. However, needless to say, I’m not the recorder prodigy my family planned me to be. When I was about 10 or 11, I started taking piano lessons from one of my mom’s students. I kind of liked piano, but halfway through my mastery of piano (yeah…. right), my instructor went to college. So that was the end of piano for me. I still know a bit, but not very much. In grade nine, I took a huge leap of faith, and took a music class. I really wanted to play the saxophone. And I did. Tenor saxophone, and all I’m going to say is I am lucky to have passed the class. I actually really enjoyed it, but music theory and reading music was not a strength I had. At the beginning of grade 10, I really wanted to learn the ukulele. I still want to. I love the way it sounds and I love the fact I can buy a pink one. Unfortunately, I love having long manicured nails, and most instruments don’t go well with that, especially my little ukulele.

Drama and Theatre

Ahhh theatre. I love theatre. I first fell in love with theatre when I saw Fiddler on the Roof at the Stratford Festival a few years ago. When I started high school, I knew I wanted to be involved with the musicals. Unfortunately, the rehearsals would interfere with my dance classes, so I didn’t audition for either grade nine or grade 10.

Our group shot for Sears.

Our group shot for Sears.

At the end of grade nine, I heard an announcement about auditions for the Sears Festival plays my school would be doing. There were two plays being put on, a student written original and another one that would be a cast collective. So a friend and I put our names on the audition list for the latter of the two, and showed up to the first of two auditions. Just let me say, it was awful. I had never actually acted before that, so it was a whole new experience. I hated it, but for some reason I still really wanted to be chosen. The next day, the callback list was up, and my name was on it! My friend didn’t get through, but she was happy about that since during the audition she realized acting was not something she wanted to do. I went to the callbacks, and hoped for the best. About a week later, the list was up. I was super nervous to look, but I scanned the list, and my name was there. I couldn’t wait to be apart of something like that.

Before going onstage at Sears.

Before going onstage at Sears.

The next school year, for six hectic months, the cast and our amazing student director and stage manager worked our butts off so we would be able to perform at the District Sears Festival. We originally started with a collective called “7 Deadly Sins” and then we started a new one titled “Masked”, which was about insecurities and overcoming them. Around two months from opening night, we were given a whole new script, “Skin” by Dennis Foon, about racism in Canada. I was given the role of Jennifer, a Jamaican teen who had to face a racist teacher. We worked hard with that, and about a month from opening night, we had to be given a new version of the script. So this meant mostly different scenes, whole new characters and new monologues. And yet another wrench, two weeks before opening night, one of our main characters dropped out. Most of us were given new roles, thank god I wasn’t one of those people, but I did have new lines to learn either way. My new role was actually a native girl named Karen, who still had the racist teacher to deal with.

About to give our final bow.

About to give our final bow.

When opening night came, we were all surprised we actually pulled it off. A week or so later was Sears, and we had our best performance that night. We didn’t move on to the next festival, but we were all still so happy with how we did and everything we accomplished. With as much that went wrong (you just got an overview), we still did amazing. It was an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to audition for next years play!

 

Kudos to those who read this whole post! I hope you come back 😉

With lots of love,

Aleria (aka Karen)

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Decorating the cars!

Decorating the cars!

O Canada!

It’s 12 am and I am exhausted. I woke up 3 hours earlier than I usually do and spent approximately six hours in Port Dover today. Thanks to the Ohsweken Speedway, I had the opportunity to ride in one of their sports cars at the annual Port Dover Canada Day Parade! I’ve been to a lot of parades in my lifetime, and I have to say, I have never seen a larger crowd. There had to have been at least a thousand people watching, maybe more!

The day started when we arrived at the beginning of the parade route in Port Dover, about half an hour from where I live. The Ohsweken Speedway have a few cars in each year, and they invited me to ride in the Camaro this year. We decorated the cars for the theme (red and white, of course), and once that was finished, we had to sit and wait for another hour or so. Finally, the parade was going to start! I had a bit of a blunder though, trying to get into the car. We couldn’t open the doors because of the decorations, and I was wearing a dress so I wasn’t able to step in. So I sat on the side and in the process of trying to swing my legs around, I fell backwards onto the seats. Thankfully, there weren’t many people around to see that!

Riding in the parade.

Riding in the parade.

The actual parade took about an hour. Riding in the parade.The amount of people was overwhelming, I really wasn’t expecting it. I saw tons of people I know in the crowds, it was nice to see some of my friends after the school year ended, I even saw one of my teachers. Afterwards, I walked around downtown and got to have Port Dover’s famous fish and chips. It was great to see so many people out to celebrate our beautiful country.

Thanks for reading!

Aleria :)

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The number of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls in Canada is disproportionately high. The Native Women’s Association of Canada’s research indicates that, between 2000 and 2008, Aboriginal women and girls represented approximately 10% of all female homicides in Canada. However, Aboriginal women make up only 3% of the female population.

I’ve been pushing myself to write up a post about this for a while, but it’s hard. Understandably. This is another big part of my platform for me. It’s something that hits close to home, not just for me, but for the people I’m surrounded by as well. Throughout the year, I hope to bring awareness to missing and murdered indigenous women.

If you are interested in learning more about this cause, click here.

Aleria

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“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”
Oscar Wilde

I remember when I was 7, I asked Santa for a telescope. I wanted to be an astronomer. I wanted to study the stars. Imagine that, I could have a whole career that revolved around the thing I loved the most, space! It was perfect! So I sent out my letter asking for a professional telescope, checked out a few books about the Milky Way from the library, and bought a make-your-own diorama of our very own solar system. I was already halfway to being a seasoned astronomer. At least, that’s what I thought.

I love space, I love astronomy, and oddly, I love math. I want to be an astrophysicist. Whenever I tell someone that, their first reaction is usually “Ahh! Cool…… Um, what is that?”, or a look of complete disgust from the thought of how much schooling I will have to go through. Yes, it is a lot. My biggest dream for what might come of all of that schooling is a job at NASA studying exo-planets. Exo-planets are planets that exist outside our solar system. I also would be interested in the search for extra terrestrial life. When people hear that, their first thought is aliens, but that not exactly what I mean. Extra terrestrial life can be anything from insects to plants to seeds and yes, other intelligent beings.

I’m still undecided about what university I’m hoping to attend for this. So far, Waterloo is my first choice. I’ve still been researching other schools and programs. I have a bit of time, and either way, I still should keep career options open, right? 😉

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