Lindsey Haggard presents the Eileen Haggard Memorial Scholarship, named after her late mother, to high school graduate Kayshella Brown at the Alberni Athletic Hall on June 24. (Denise Titian photos)
Hundreds of people turned up at the Alberni Athletic Hall Saturday, June 24, proudly celebrating the scholastic success of Nuu-chah-nulth-aht that graduated in 2017.
Elected Councillor Cynthia Dick welcomed guests to Tseshaht territory, using Nuu-chah-nulth language in her speech. She told the people that she works hard to learn the language because saving the language is important and so is learning.
“It’s such a good day to celebrate graduates,” she said, adding that it’s been ten years since her 12th grade graduation. She reminded the graduates to believe in themselves and continually move forward in learning and growth. She congratulated the graduates of 2017.
Elected Hupacasath Councillor Brandi Lauder also congratulated the class of 2017 as she welcomed people to Hupacasath territory. “On behalf of our chief and council, we want to let you know how proud we are of you,” she told them.
Aaron Watts of Tseshaht was invited up to lead the singing of the Nuu-chah-nulth song and also the SD 70 song, which he composed and donated to the district. Several students and adults joined Watts in the singing of both songs.
NTC President Deb Foxcroft stood with Vice President Ken Watts by her side. She told the graduates that the NTC holds their hands up to them, and congratulated them on behalf of the Tribal Council.
Greg Smyth, SD70 Superintendent, congratulated the class of 2017 on behalf of SD70 as did Lawrence Tarasoff, Superintendent for SD84.
“None of this is an easy accomplishment,” said Smyth, adding that it takes a family to bring graduates to success.
The remainder of the afternoon was devoted to the recognition of the 69 Nuu-chah-nulth Grade 12 graduates and the 49 post-secondary graduates. Also included in the celebration were the 25 Nuu-chah-nulth Employment and Training Program graduates, most of whom are Nuu-chah-nulth.
Dozens of scholarships were awarded throughout the afternoon and evening. A catered dinner was served before everyone reconvened to watch the class of 2017 procession.