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.
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