By Sam Donnelly
For Ponoka News
Maskwacîs Education School Commission (MESC) hired two new principals as part of its realignment strategy. MESC announced on Feb. 9 that Jennifer Conroy will be the principal at the new Maskwacîs Senior High school while Keith MacQuarrie will be principal at the new junior high school.
According to Brian Wildcat, MESC made the new hires as part of its larger realignment plan to combine the junior high into one program and all its high school programs into another.
Currently, Maskwacîs has three schools that offer Grades 7 to 12 programs. These include Ermineskin Junior-Senior High School, Nipisihkopahk Secondary School and Maskwacîs Outreach School.
According to MESC, the new programs will begin in September of this year. Wildcat went on to say that he hopes that the realignment will help give students more opportunities and help students achieve.
“All students no matter what community get the best education,” said Wildcat.
On MESC’s website, Conroy said, “We have so many amazing educators in MESC and I feel extremely fortunate to be leading the high school team moving forward. In the words of Sitting Bull, ‘Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.’”
Originally from Sucker Creek First Nation Conroy started her career teaching English and social studies at Ermineskin Junior-Senior High School.
MacQuarrie said, “I am passionate about empowering students to succeed and fostering an environment where Miyo Wâhkôhtowin is at the heart of how we interact with each other.”
Originally from Nova Scotia, MacQuarrie has worked in Maskwacîs for 19 years. She worked at Ermineskin Junior-Senior High School as a P.E teacher before taking on different assistant principal and principal positions, first at Ermineskin, then Nipisihkopahk Secondary School, after MESC was formed.
MESC finished the announcement by saying that MESC will continue to be guided by its four core values: Îyinîw Mâmitonehicikan, Nehiyawewin, Nehiyaw Pimâtisôwin ekwa Wahkôhtowin.
According to Wildcat, these translate into: “yinîw Mâmitonehicikan – Think and understand our being and existence through a Cree perspective including the Maskwacîs Cree language, ceremonies, values and understanding of relationships (Wahkôhtowin).”
Nehiyawewin – Speak the Cree language, our Maskwacîs Cree language defines our identity.
Nehiyaw Pimâtisôwin – Living our Cree way of life, thinking and understanding our being and existence through a Cree perspective including Mâmawô Ohtâwîmâw Owiyehicikewin (creation), Askîw Pimâtisôwin (living off the land), Nehiyawewin (Cree language), Kâkisimowin (prayer), Tâpôwakehitamôwin (believe and understand the values), Kîhcehitowin (respect) ekwa Nehiyâwin (Cree Culture).
Wahkôhtowin – Believe all things are related and connected, that all of existence has spirit and that living in a good way requires people to maintain relationships with each other and other aspects of existence.