Four awards of $500 were provided to Indigenous students actively enrolled in either Grade 12 upgrading or pre-12 programs.
The Indigenous ABE Persistence Awards are provided by Living Sky Casino and Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association.
The award is designed to recognize the perseverance of adult basic education students enrolled in Great Plains College and part of the Indigenous community by offering monetary awards. The $2,000 total is part of a much larger number of $143,000 Great Plains College will provide to students across its six campuses.
To receive the award students wrote an essay describing the struggles and obstacles they had to overcome in order to pursue formal education in the ABE program. Students wrote about some of the barriers they face in their social life, family-related, and financial. As well the students were required to describe their future academic and employment goals.
Trevor Marion, Living Sky Casino general manager, presented the awards and also spoke about some of his challenges growing up.
“I quit school in Grade 11 to start working, and I haven’t stopped since then,” Marion said. “Recently my kids started challenging me, and I most recently enrolled in a program to show I can get educated, so I have something to show them.
“It’s harder as you get older to go back to school and get educated, so it’s important finishing now.”
Maple Creek student Chasidy Stanely says she’s very thankful for the award, as trying to complete school in Regina was a challenge for her.
“Starting high school in Regina, you can see the difference compared to a small town here where people are respectful of the First Nations around, and there (Regina) they don’t really recognize or appreciate the First Nations around them,” she said. “I was discouraged from going to school there, and I could hear the other students saying, ‘just another Native that’s not going to go far in life.'”
The birth of Stanely’s daughter motivated her to go back and leave an example.
“I wanted to show her as Native people we are strong and we can persevere. Getting the education was for me but also to show them there are things for us to do,” she said.
The bursary or awards handed out by Great Plains College are made possible by many donors including the Town of Maple Creek.
NEWS PHOTO FACUNDO RODRIGUEZ
A total of four students were presented bursaries of 500 dollars on behalf of Living Sky Casino for their persistence towards completing their education. Pictured L-R, Trevor Marion Living Sky Casino manager, followed by the recipients Chasidy Stanely, Ethan Francis, Marci Gordon, Celia Semenok, accompanied by Great Plains College president David Keast and Maple Creek town councillor Barry Elderkin.