Birthplace: Calgary, Alberta
School: Holy Trinity Catholic High School
Future Goal: To build a hospital in Africa
“The younger group of kids in my Sparks unit is probably the best. I want them to stay in it because not only is it good for their personalities and for their self-confidence and what they think is self-achievable in life, there’s so many great opportunities once you get into all the higher levels.” — Ailish McDonald
Written by Saakshi Arvikar
Ailish is a dynamic, busy and community-oriented student that always looks to see where she can make a difference. She participates and has connections to social/humanitarian work, athletics, and fine arts.
Her most important commitment is Girl Guides, and she ranks in one of the highest levels. Through Guides, she has been selected to go on trips to Africa, Australia and India/Nepal.
Her favourite part of Guides is encouraging younger girls to stay in Guides throughout high school for wild opportunities.
“I believe Girl Guides is a great opportunity for girls because it not only forces you out of your comfort zone, but it gives you wild opportunities like going to Africa,” she said.
“I see so many girls drop out before they reach Pathfinders and Rangers, the grades that you are now in high school, where it’s considered uncool to be in Guides. It’s like the coolest time to be in it because as you get older, you get more opportunities like getting to go on these trips.”
She has a non-profit organization called Book Blessings, where she collects donate books and ships them off to Fort Chipewyan, Calgary and Africa.
In athletics, Ailish is working towards coaching competitive swimming. She said she realized her endurance would never be high enough to succeed as a competitive swimmer, so she decided to have a connection to the sport through coaching kids.
As for the arts, her involvement includes photography and sending her artwork to Timeraiser, a community fundraiser where people bid volunteer hours to receive local art.
A few places that Ailish has volunteered include the Wood Buffalo Food Bank, the Northern Lights Regional Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees, Habitat for Humanity and more.
All these things have come together to help her achieve her Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award, and she is currently working towards her Silver, which is just a few requirements away.