Graduating students from left to right are: Evan Louis, Jade Rabbit, Shaneek Roasting, Tessa Pots, Elise Roan and Taleisha Roan. Photo by Kelly Stickle

Mamawi Atosketan Native School celebrates six graduates

Grad ceremony held on June 16 for Indigenous school north of Ponoka

On June 16, 2020 Mamawi Atosketan Native School (MANS) said farewell to six graduates, three of whom are the first in their families to graduate from high school.

The graduating students are Evan Louis, Tessa Potts Jade Rabbit, Taleisha Roan and Shaneek Roasting. Rabbit plans to enter Burman University’s pre-med program this fall, and Roasting plans to pursue a degree in business at Burman University.

Louis, Potts and Roasting are the first in their families to graduate from high school.

MANS, that incorporates Cree culture into education, is a private K-12 school north of Ponoka that serves the First Nations students of Maskwacis, Alta. exclusively.

With the opening of restrictions on group gatherings, the graduating class chose to change their drive in grad to one in the gymnasium. The chairs were placed far apart to try and social distance different family groups. The ceremony was also live streamed.

All six graduates received a minimum of $4,000 in scholarships to use at their school of choice to further their education. As well, Roasting and Rabbit were awarded 100 per cent tuition for up to four years at Burman University in Lacombe based on maintaining a GPA of 3.9.

They were awarded as co-valedictorians for finishing with a minimum average of 85 per cent throughout their high school careers. Rabbit is pursuing a career in medicine and Roasting is pursuing one in business.

“This was MANS largest graduating class yet and the school is very proud of the accomplishments of each student,” said science teacher Pattie Reasor.

“Congratulations Taleisha, Elise, Evan, Tessa, Jade and Shaneek, our class of 2020.”

According to a news release, the school decided to expand from a private K-9 school to kindergarten to Grade 12 because of repeated requests from parents and students over the years.

“By carrying students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 the school can also provide direction to students for college and higher education opportunities,” said MANS principal Gail Wilton.

“We’re seeing the interest in higher education growing.”

MANS opened its high school campus in Sept. 2018.

READ MORE: Trades and high school grades expanded to First Nations school north of Ponoka

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