School District 27’s new First Nations Role Models were recognized at an intimate celebration earlier this week.
A small crowning ceremony was held June 17 in the commons area of Lake City Secondary School’s Williams Lake campus.
Selected as the 2020 First Nations Role Models were Morgan McKay of the Williams Lake Indian Band and Wrenn Yano of the Spuzzum First Nation and Metis Nation.
McKay is a Grade 11 student at Lake City Secondary Williams Lake campus while Yano, also a Grade 11 student, attends Peter Skene Ogden in 100 Mile House.
Both are proud of their First Nations culture and background.
They received their School District 27 crowns from reigning role models Cheiro Guichon of Tsi Del Del (Alexis Creek Band) and Alicia William of Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah) who provided an overview of some of their accomplishments of the year.
Guichon said some highlights for him included attending the Kamloopa Powwow as an ambassador and participating in the grand entry, working over the summer with the Tsilhqot’in National Government, and opening the second act of the the annual Parade of Choirs which raised more than $4,000 for the Hough Memorial Cancer Society.
“It was an eventful year as a First Nation role model and I’m looking forward to what the next role models will do to reach their endeavors,” he said.
William also attended the Kamloopa Powwow and participated in the annual Xeni Gwet’in youth wagon trip as well as UBC Science Camp. She was accepted by all three post-secondary institutions she applied to, and is looking forward to attending UBC this fall to pursue a bachelor of science in applied biology before applying to the University of Saskatchewan’s veterinary medicine program.
“I would like to congratulate the 2020 SD27 role models and thank SD27 and Xeni Gwet’in for your support during my reign of being the 2019 SD27 female role model,” she said.
As new role models McKay and Yano received role model sashes and were cloaked in blankets before being presented with signed certificates, a $500 bursary, bookmarks and jacket from School District 27.
Guichon and William also each received a jacket and a keepsake crown made by Tsi Del Del and Xeni Gwet’in community members.
Attending the ceremony were SD27 staff and family and friends of McKay, Yano, Guichon and William.
First Nations leaders also participated including WLIB Chief Willie Sellars who acknowledged the outgoing and incoming role models for their hard work.
“They’re individuals that our First Nations kids can be proud of and strive for, it allows them to realize that there’s a bigger world out there.”
SD27 director of education and instruction Jerome Beauchamp noted a number of students apply each year to be crowned School District 27 First Nations Role Model.
“We consider all the students to be role models in their schools, communities and families,” he said.
1.) Freigncheska Isnardy, Grade 10 from Lake City Secondary Williams Lake campus, a member of Tl’esqox (Toosey )
2.) Xeni Lulua, Grade 10 from Naghtaneqed Elem./Jr. Secondary, a member of Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah)
3.) Jaci Gilbert, Grade 11 from Peter Skene Ogden, a member of Tsq’escen’ (Canim Lake)
4.) Madison Johnny, Grade 9 from Alexis Creek Elementary/Junior Secondary, a member of Tsideldel (Alexis Creek)
5.) Shante Adams, Grade 10 from Lake City Secondary Williams Lake campus, a member of Stswecem’c Xgat’tem (Canoe Creek/Dog Creek)
6.) Jayden McEwan, Grade 10 from Anahim Lake Elementary/Junior Secondary, a member of Ulkatcho (Anahim)
7.) Marshall Heit, Grade 11 from Peter Skene Ogen, a member of Kispiox Band