Strength of Spirit and Resiliency of our Students: A Spotlight on our Aboriginal Achievement Awards

May 25, 2019

“The blanket is like a hug. The headband is for good thoughts,” explains Cheryl Gabriel with the Kwantlen First Nation as she addressed the Golden Eagles, who are the 2019 Aboriginal secondary school graduates in the Langley School District. More than 50 grads were a part of a ceremony on May 15, which involved being wrapped in a red blanket and adorned with a black and white headband.

The students marched in front of a crowd of about 500 people, most of whom were families, friends, and school administrators, who’ve been alongside them on their education journey.

“It’s an honour because we’ve seen them since Kindergarten,” says Donna Robins, District Teacher for the Aboriginal program.This year the District is seeing its highest number of Aboriginal grads for a total of 125. It’s proof that the District is doing something right says Mike Pue, District Principal of the Aboriginal Education Program.

“The District is creating a sense of belonging for our students. We have Aboriginal Support Workers (known as Lexwey in Halq’emeylem) in all schools to provide support, building trusting relationships between staff, students, families and community (reference goals #1 & #2 from Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement), and having supportive allies.”

“We are unbelievably proud of our students and their achievements. The end result speaks to the strength of spirit and resiliency of our students. Our ever-increasing number of graduating students is a testament to the tremendous work of ya:yestel (Aboriginal Education Advisory Board), the Aboriginal program and District and school staff,” adds Pue.

He recognizes that more work needs to be done in Aboriginal Education. “As a District (and not just the program), we need to continue to strengthen our collaborative relationships, continue to seek the truth and develop better understandings of our shared history. We need to continue to promote and facilitate the inclusion of Aboriginal Worldviews and perspectives into all classrooms,” outlines Pue.

As part of the event, close to 400 students in various grade levels received awards.

For info on our Aboriginal Program go here.