An Honour Roll student in Grades 10 through 12 at Canterbury High School, Kellen Schleyer also won the Subject Excellence Award for Anthropology & Sociology with the highest mark in the class.
His achievements at school don’t stop at academics. Kellen took cooperative education twice, with placements at Algonquin College radio and at a local community centre where he shared his enthusiastic approach and educated staff on best practices when working with someone with a disability. A huge sports fan, Kellen was regularly seen cheering team on the Canterbury field. Kellen attended local city sport events with Canterbury’s Personal Support program and he has become a mentor to the many of the program’s younger students.
Kellen sat on the Ottawa Carleton District School Boards Accessibility Working Group, describing his experiences and insights on practical matters from access to water fountains to attending class field trips, helping the board create more inclusive places for all students. He is not shy about sharing his experiences, wanting to make things better for those who come next. Kellen presented at the Ottawa Carleton School Board’s Date for Diversity, speaking passionately and honestly about his experiences as a student with a disability in the education system.
Kellen has had more than 20 surgeries in 18 years, and experienced many complications along the way including hospital admissions, life threatening blood clots, and as he says, “too many casts to count.” He requires major surgery that may further impact his mobility. None of this stops Kellen from participating in extra-curricular activities. He played hockey in the Ottawa Power Wheelchair Hockey League (OPWHL) for eight years, and for the last two years Kellen’s leadership skills got him named captain of his recreational league team. He says he was chosen because he’s dedicated and passionate about the sport; he’s also known for motivating his teammates to do the best they can. In addition to league play Kellen joined OPWHL’s competitive team, the Ottawa Capitals. Named assistant captain for two games, the Capitals won the Championship that year. Kellen raised approximately $10,000 to provide funding for the team to travel to tournaments across Canada and the US.
As a member of the Me to We Club Kellen promoted accessibility in Ottawa, raising money to paint the Forward movement logo on all CHEO/OCTC accessible parking spots (where he has been a client), and for the Ottawa Parkdale Food Centre, which prepares food for people who are homeless or struggling and to support food and health for people in need in Africa.
Kellen will be attending Algonquin College’s Social Service Worker program full time this fall. He hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps, and work with at risk youth and/or further his education in Addictions and Mental Health.