Check out our Aboriginal Job Board!
Nash brothers serve as positive role models in school, in sports, at home
Reno and Joshua Nash have come through some tough times in their young lives, yet the brothers continue to make a positive impression in the world around them. Both demonstrate leadership qualities in school, in sports and at home, and both are past recipients of Alberta Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards.
The boys attend high school in Calgary and are among the older sons in a family of 11 brothers and sisters who range in age from four months to 20 years. All of the children are still living at home with parents Tina and Curtis May. Reno, 16, and Joshua, 17, say that living with a large family has helped to make them stronger and more understanding of other people. They credit the steady, loving support of their mother and stepfather.
“The biggest impact on my life is my ability to go out there and do things, and not feel like there are any barriers,” said Joshua. “As an Aboriginal person, I want to make my family proud in every way I can.”
Reno agrees. “Receiving the award made me open my eyes and see what I was doing. It was just the way I live my life, I didn’t even realize it was anything out of the ordinary.”
The road they have walked hasn’t been easy. Before their parents’ marriage ended, Reno and Joshua lived through some years of hardship with an abusive father whose drug and alcohol addictions made their home life miserable.
When that marriage ended, an older half-brother stayed behind with his father. The boys were all very close, Tina said, and it was hard for them to lose the day-to-day contact with one another. That became a tragic loss when the older brother got into trouble. Now incarcerated, his connection with his younger half-brothers is sporadic and limited.
Moving to a new school was also tough, said Tina. “Reno was bullied, until finally he couldn’t take it anymore. He fashioned a weapon and took that to school to defend himself. Nobody was hurt, but Reno was suspended.”
Then Reno chose to take a positive path. “He was in Grade 9, and he was failing math and science,” said Tina. “Within one single semester, he turned it around, earning honours and taking advanced placement courses.”
Sports became Reno’s strength. He played soccer until being sidelined by a broken ankle, and then he turned to kickboxing and skateboarding. He also got a job at Little Caesar’s Pizza, and has been working there for two years.
Reno has seen the hard road that trouble can lead to, and he wants no part of it for himself or his friends. He helped organize his friends into going to Alcoholics Anonymous, and tries to be a positive influence if they’re planning to drink.
“I really want to be a champion kick-boxer. That’s where my passion is. If that doesn’t work out, I want to be an electrician,” said Reno.
A natural leader, Joshua has also shown an indomitable spirit. He is an achiever at school, consistently on the honour roll. He was chosen to speak on the importance of Aboriginal youth involvement in science and medicine at the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, a prestigious honour that grew out of his involvement with Science Olympics.
He’s a peacemaker too. Joshua was a leader in organizing a peace-patrol at his school, mitigated schoolyard disputes and served on the Student Advisory Council.
In 2009, Joshua was the first Aboriginal player to win the Alberta “under-16” Inner City Soccer Championship, the first Aboriginal to earn Gold Level Recognition for athletic achievement at his high school, and the first Aboriginal captain of the Deerfoot soccer team in its 15-year history. He was named the Grade 11 Athlete of the Year at his school.
In the fall, Joshua will begin his studies at the University of Lethbridge, with a major in biological sciences.
“My main goal is medical school,” he said. “I want to become an ophthalmologist. Then I’d like to move to Africa, and work with people who can’t see, and fix their eyes for free. I want to be able to help people, and to be able to help my family financially too.”
Reno and Joshua are two of the many deserving young people in the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in Alberta. Nominations for the 2011 Alberta Aboriginal Youth Achievement Awards must be received by May 20 at Rupertsland Institute.
- Community Access
- Contact Us
- Our History
- Archives Search
- In Depth
Share this with friends
- The #IdleNoMore Movement
- Relationship between Canada's Justice System and Aboriginal People
- 2013 Guide to Powwow Country Events Calendar
- Play Radio Bingo to win!
- CFWE-FM Alberta Radio Network
- Buffalo Spirit Foundation
- Western Association of Aboriginal Broadcasters (WAAB)
- July Windspeaker - June 24
- July Raven's Eye - June 24
- July Saskatchewan Sage - June 24
- July Alberta Sweetgrass - July 8
- Download 2013 AMMSA media kits for:
* Sage - Raven's Eye - Birchbark
- Online advertising on www.ammsa.com.
Subscribe & Donate
- Order a Windspeaker digital subscription
- Order a Windspeaker print subscription
- Support independent, Indigenous media in Canada by making a donation via paypal