Joanna-Rae Alphonse and Brandon Stump have been selected from a field of 14 nominees to serve as the School District 27 2015-16 First Nation Role Models.
Joanna-Rae is a Grade 8 student at Lake City Secondary School and a member of the Yunesit’in (Stone) Band.
Brandon is a Grade 11 student at Lake City Secondary School and a member of the Tl’etinqox-T’in (Anaham) Band.
Outgoing 2014 Role Models Norma Handsor and Mountain Lake Alphonse passed their crowns to the incoming role models in a ceremony honouring all of the nominees held at Marie Sharpe Elementary gymnasium, Thursday, May 28.
In the formal recognition ceremony each of the 14 nominees were escorted around the gymnasium as the outgoing role models took turns reading the nomination biographies of each of the candidates.
The other honoured nominees are Denelle Noskiye LCSS Grade 10, (Tl’etinqox/Anaham); Rae Alphonse, LCSS Grade 10, (Tl’etinqox/Anaham); Shania Cook LCSS Grade 11 (Xeni Gwet’in/Nemiah); Shantae Guichon, LCSS Grade 9, (Tsi Del Del/Redstone); Faith Myers LCSS Grade 9 (Yunesit’in/Stone); Aliza Paul LCSS Grade 9, (Esketemc/Alkali); Sabryn Alphonse, LCSS Grade 8 (Tl’etinqox/Anaham); Olivia Haines, Alexis Creek Elementary/Junior Secondary Grade 8 (Yunesit’in/Stone); Seanna Alphonse, Grade 8 Skyline (Tl’etinqox/Anaham); Julian Bob, Peter Skene Ogden Secondary Grade 8 (Tsq’escen’/Canim); Dylan DeRose LCSS Grade 9 (Esketemc/Alkali); and Myron Theodore Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School Grade11, (Tsq’escen’/Canim).
The students were nominated by their various teachers and community leaders for their academic achievement and positive involvement in school and community activities such as sports, arts, 4-H, and First Nations traditional cultural activities. Each of the students nominated received a poster of themselves and their nomination along with a jacket recognizing them as role model nominees.
The recognition ceremonies included traditional welcomes, speeches of praise and thank-you, songs, presentation of gifts, honour drum song, formal passing of the crowns, and sage ceremony. The event wrapped up with a buffet feast put on by SD27 and bands represented on the First Nations Education Committee.
Students and staff at Marie Sharpe elementary spent the day decorating the gymnasium with their art work and posters of the nominees for the occasion.
The incoming role models will pass on their crowns to the incoming role models next year but were also given several gifts to keep.
SD27 Superintendent Mark Thiessen presented Joanna-Rae and Brandon each with a $500 bursary. SD27 trustee Joyce Cooper presented the incoming role models with a certificate signed by the board of education and district staff.
Joanna-Rae and Brandon also received monogramed ceremonial sashes and jackets, book marks to hand out, a framed poster of their picture and nomination, and a blanket each as is tradition in the First Nations culture. Their posters will also be sent to all SD27 schools, band schools in the district and to the City of Williams Lake.
Joanna-Rae and Brandon will serve as First Nations ambassadors for SD 27 for the 2015/16 school year. One of their first acts of service was to cut and serve the cake make in their honour.
Some of the upcoming events they will participate in include the Aboriginal Day Parade on June 21, Daybreak Rotary Stampede Parade, and the Kamloops pow wow which is the largest pow wow in Western Canada. During the coming year they will also visit various school and participate in various school functions.