Max Burris stood on stage at Roger’s Place in Edmonton, looking out on 10,000 fellow students from across Alberta, and thought “that’s a lot of people.”
As a special guest at WE Day Alberta, Oct. 22, Max was there to speak about his school — Bentley School — and its efforts to raise money, promote and help others through WE Charity.
WE Day is an event put on by WE Charity, which promotes socially conscious living and implements development programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America, focusing on education, water, health, food and economic opportunity. WE Day, which is hosted at different locations on different dates around the world, celebrates the accomplishments of youth.
As a WE school, Bentley School has been dedicated to fundraising for the WE Walk for Water program, which has provided clean drinking water for people in Haiti. Max has been a very committed student in these efforts, so when Bentley teacher Jannah Bertin was asked for a student to speak at WE Day, she thought of Max right away.
“I chose Max for many, many different reasons. He was part of the leadership last year when we did the fundraiser, WE Walk for Water. He is the type of student that doesn’t just talk the talk. Max went and brought in money, and is consistently and actively involved in a lot of our fundraisers,” said Bertin. “He embodies what WE is. He is kind, compassionate and a super amazing and hardworking student.”
Part of Max’s involvement in WE Day was a speech about his school’s efforts.
“I didn’t think it would be that full. I thought it’s WE, I don’t know how many people know about that. Then when I got there on stage, I was like ‘wow,’ I had never seen this many people before in my life,” he said. “It was pretty important to me that I got to represent my school and the school was cheering me on. I like representing my school.”
It wasn’t all nerves and speaking in front of thousands, Max did have the opportunity to meet some of the celebrity guests as part of the event, including Canadian country star Brett Kissel.
“That was really cool, that is probably a once in a lifetime chance that you get to be there,” said Max, who admitted to having signed a number of autographs and delivering “a couple hundred high fives” since appearing at the event.
My biggest highlight was seeing all the people and all the people with leadership skills who participate and support WE Charity,” added Max. “I am going to keep doing that and participate for WE and if a kid comes along and says will you sponsor me for this, I’ll know that I too participated in it when I was younger.”