The ceremony was closed with honor song and dance by Dallas George Jr. and Sierra George. (photo submitted)

Graduates celebrated at Esk’etemc First Nation with outdoor community celebration

The event included a parade and dinner by the campfire

A B.C. First Nation south of Williams Lake honoured its 2020 high school and post-secondary graduates with a community parade and celebration.

Graduates rode in decorated vehicles and paraded around Eske’t where community members proudly cheered and waved late this past Tuesday afternoon said Esk’etemc First Nation education coordinator, Irene Johnson.

They then gathered at the lawn of Sxoxomic School for speeches and gift presentations before sitting around a fire pit and enjoying a meal prepared by Esket Cafe staff.

Read More: Reverse graduation parade gets green light from Williams Lake city council

Third year nursing student at Thompson Rivers University, Tahnyea Robbins served as keynote speaker, and shared her experience and offered support to the students who received financial awards.

Hand drums made by Fred Johnson and staff of Letwilc Wellness Centre as well as beaded drum sticks by local resident Lucy Dick were gifted to the students.

Presentations were also made by Johnson and education director Jenessa Loewen as well as Esk’etemc Chief and Council.

“We closed with honor song and dance by Dallas George Jr. and Sierra George,” she said. “This song and dance was a blessing for all the graduates.

Grade 12 graduates from Esket (Alkali Lake) include Zoe Paul, Brandon Dan, Dez Johnson, Leone Johnson, Isiaah Robbins, Demitrius George, Kristyna Stanislaus, Rowen Chelsea, Zachary Chelsea, Courtney Johnson and Tracer Weingart.

Read More: COVID-19: B.C. universities opt out of in-person spring graduation ceremonies

Graduating from post-secondary studies are Martina Evans (Bachelor of Science in Nursing from UNBC), Sandra Weser (Bachelor of Social Work from TRU), Sidney Paul (Master of Arts in Exercise and Health Sciences), Myrle Johnson, (Bachelor of General Studies and Early Childhood Educator from TRU), Elektra Johnson (Make-up Artistry Diploma) and Floyd Dick (Language Teacher Program).

Johnson said honourable mentions included Sara L Harding (Paneena) who completed her Masters and is moving to her Doctorate Degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at UNBC and Valerie Johnson who got her Diploma and is moving forward to her Bachelor of Education at UBC.

B.C. will be celebrating thousands of graduates, including 61,000 Grade 12 graduates, this year.

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