After a long uphill battle to build a school equipped to teach Grade 12 and with an expansion on the horizon, Mamawi Atosketan Native School celebrated with its first ever Grade 12 graduating class on Thursday, May 28.
“To be the first graduates of Mamawi Atosketan is truly rewarding. There is no better feeling than accomplishing a goal. We have changed our school forever,” said Coralie Nepoose, valedictorian and one of the two members of the graduating class, which consists of Nepoose and her schoolmate since pre-school, Frederick Crier-Jamerson.
“We have been dreaming about this for a very long time. We have been dreaming about this since before you started pre-school together,” said principal Gail Wilton addressing the two graduates.
As valedictorian, Nepoose took to the podium for an emotional speech, thanking both her teachers and her school for instilling the importance of education in her. “Education is the key to everything,” she said.
During her speech Nepoose promised to work as hard in her future as she has in the past in order to continue to make her family proud. “This school year’s been tough but I’ve never been more thankful for those around me. My mother and my daughter are my motivation for everything.”
The theme of the graduation was The Tassel is Worth the Hassel and it covered three major points: the past is our heritage, the present is my responsibility and the future is my challenge.
Over the course of the graduation ceremony Nepoose and Crier-Jamerson received a combined total of $26,300 in scholarship funds.
This summer Mamawi Atosketan is breaking ground on a new grades 7 to 12 high school, which will be located at the other end of the school’s current property.
“We’re out of space,” said Wilton in an interview with Ponoka News.
Mamawi Atosketan Native School was constructed as a Kindergarten to Grade 9 school but over the last three years grades 10, 11 and 12 were added.
“We’re in the midst of a big fundraising campaign,” said Wilton.
To buy more space until that time, several portable classrooms are being moved to the school this August.