Actualités de Sciences jeunesse Canada

Remembering Michael O’Neil: A Dedicated Volunteer


Youth Science Canada mourns the loss of Michael O’Neil, a long-time volunteer and supporter of our organization. For over a decade, Michael was a vital part of our community, sharing his time, expertise, and passion for STEM with countless young Canadians.

Michael’s involvement with Youth Science Canada began in the mid-2000s when his son, Daniel, first presented a project at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in Truro, Nova Scotia. A few years later, and a few CWSFs later, Michael had the pleasure of seeing both Daniel and his daughter, Chantal, present projects at the same CWSF. After his children moved on to university, Michael continued to serve as a CWSF delegate and regional coordinator for United Counties. As someone who loved writing, every night of the CWSF, Michael would type up a summary of the day to send to the finalists’ parents, and at the end of the week, he would copy all of his photos onto USB drives to give to his region’s finalists. In his last email update from CWSF 2018 in Ottawa, he wrote,

“When you sit down with your child and look at the photos of this wonderful experience, watch their reactions. They will smile and laugh, and tell you stories about what you see. To you, they are just photos, but to them, they are memories – and you can’t beat that!”

For 10 years, Michael’s enthusiasm for STEM and his genuine interest in supporting young scientists quickly made him a beloved figure amongst CWSF finalists and volunteers.

Michael’s impact on Youth Science Canada and the students he worked with cannot be overstated. He inspired numerous young Canadians to pursue their interests in science and to develop their potential as future innovators and leaders. His kindness, generosity, and positive attitude made him a role model for all who knew him, and his legacy will inspire generations to come.

We extend our deepest condolences to Michael’s family and friends, and we want to express our heartfelt appreciation for his service and commitment to Youth Science Canada. His contributions will be remembered and cherished always. We leave you with a poem Michael started writing at CWSF 2017 in Regina, and completed during CWSF 2018 in Ottawa.

The Fair

They come from all parts of our great land

With project posters close at hand

A common theme binds every delegation

To compete with others from our great nation Curious and questioning

The best of the best

Dreams of great deeds

And their common quest

Be they Junior, Intermediate, or Senior

Their goals are the same

To broaden our knowledge of science

Is the name of their game

A passion, a thirst, a love, a desire

All with inquisitive minds

And a will to fly higher

Once ignited by challenge

The spark will grow

Into a quest for answers

A burning passion to know

Though the world be in turmoil

With strife, fear, and woe

Their future lies before us

By the Fair’s legacy, we bestow

To our youth, to our finalists

So someday, the world may know

They have arrived, they have matured

Into the leaders we yearn for so