High School Graduation a Time for Celebration for the entire community

Hello to all of the faithful readers of this incredible website.

Since I was invited to blog here about six months ago I have been extremely busy with my own consulting company and going back to school. I recently graduated with my certificate from BCIT's Associate Certificate in Entrepreneurialism. It was very hard going to weekend classes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for five months but all of the hard work paid off with my graduation a couple weekends ago.

This being the end of June marks the end of other student's long twelve years of high school and recently I had the privilege of attending School District #73 (Kamloops) grad celebrations.

The event took place at Thompson Rivers University grand hall was packed from doorway to stage with moms, dads, aunties, uncles, grandmas and grandpas of the graduating students. The feeling in the room was one of jubilation and excitement. The grads, for the most part, wore suits and evening gowns for the most important night of their lives.

It was amazing to witness and also a lot of fun with many dignitaries present to salute the grads and pass along bursaries and scholarships.

The event was well supported by local businesses and the annual Howling Wolf Golf Tournament at the Mount Paul Golf Course to the tune of $8950 in scholarships and bursaries being handed out to the hard working grads. The sad part of this story is that this financial support was oversubscribed by the students and not all students received awards.

I know that my generation is helping their children and that I have the financial wherewithal to support my daughter or son if they choose to continue their post-secondary dreams. Many other aboriginal parents would like to but can't do that. Our people for the most part are still the poorest segment of Canadian society. Judging by the amount of grads from the ceremony that is about to change.

The best part of this story is that there were a record number of high school grads from School District #73 this year with 170 receiving their Dogwoods. That is the most ever for this school district and the most of any school district in BC.

That number equates to 64 percent of the students that started grade 8 finished high school in the district. The provincial average is 48 percent. Boom! Take that provincial average.

One of our most revered leaders foresaw this turning of the tide and remarked the following passage when asked to speak at Canada's centennial celebration in Vancouver in 1967.

Chief Dan George said, "Oh god! Like the Thunderbird of old I shall rise again out of the sea; I shall grab the instruments of the white man's success, his education, his skills, and with these new tools I shall build my race into the proudest segment of your society. Before I follow the great Chiefs who have gone before us,oh Canada, I shall see these things come to pass.

I shall see our young braves and our chiefs sitting in the houses of law and government, ruling and being ruled by knowledge and freedom of our great land. So shall we shatter the barriers of our isolation. So shall the next hundred years be the greatest and proudest in the proud history of our tribes and nations."

That is powerful stuff. Congratulations grads. Journey well and be safe. Please consider post-secondary school and push yourselves to be the best you can be.

If you would like to tell me what you think of this column please contact me at seklep@telus.net

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