‘We made it’: N.W.T. highschool grads celebrated by their communities

College students throughout the Northwest Territories are being celebrated in an entire host of how — a Hollywood themed grad in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., bobble heads of scholars in Norman Wells, N.W.T., and gatherings for grads that college students by no means may have imagined in the course of the top of the pandemic.

Shamar Bennett is considered one of eight college students graduating from Mackenzie Mountain Faculty in Norman Wells, the place he began out three years in the past after shifting from Jamaica. 

“We’re all going to be scattered over Canada, however I feel we’re all going to attempt our greatest to remain linked as a lot as we will,” he mentioned.

Round city, there shall be indicators with the graduates’ faces, and every of them is getting a present that is custom at Mackenzie Mountain Excessive Faculty — customized bobbleheads, he mentioned. 

Bennett mentioned he’ll take his bobblehead with him to Halifax, the place he plans to review commerce at Dalhousie College. 

His subsequent endeavour can also be a major alternative for him, a soccer participant. He is been pushing to compete at a nationwide degree, and even fundraised to make these journeys occur. 

“Hopefully I can check out for the Dalhousie soccer crew and make it. God prepared, that will be actually nice second for me.” 

A few of his classmates are off to College of Alberta, College of Regina, Saskatchewan, Concordian and MacEwen.

“We’re wanting ahead to transitioning into the surface world and seeing how we will take what we realized right here on this small neighborhood,” he mentioned. 

Bennet mentioned residing in Norman Wells has modified him to be extra attuned to others “as a result of it is so small right here.”

“Everybody’s for everybody and I feel I’ve grown to like and look after others and develop into way more … delicate to others’ ideas and concepts.”

In the summertime, Bennett will journey to Edmonton for the Canada Summer time Video games males’s crew in Edmonton and hopefully in August, he’ll head to Canada Summer time Video games in Niagara.

He thanked his academics, principal and mom for serving to him alongside the best way, including “I might wish to say a giant thanks for the North.”

He additionally had a message for his classmates.

“I’d simply say a prayer that you just guys have a good time wherever you go and that you just do your greatest, that we are going to all keep linked it doesn’t matter what. Love you guys.”

A bittersweet second

Shamar Bennett, 17, was chosen for the male soccer crew representing the N.W.T. at subsequent 12 months’s Canada Summer time Video games. However the territory’s soccer affiliation would not cowl particular person bills, so he is has to seek out the cash to get to common coaching camps in Yellowknife on his personal. (Rex Lagare)

The valedictorian for École St. Patrick Faculty in Yellowknife, Ava Applejohn, mentioned the 75 graduates at her college spent the final two years working towards their diplomas, and half of that was on-line.

“We labored fairly onerous to get up to now,” she mentioned. “It is simply been actually totally different however we made it … It is form of loopy how far we have come.”

Ava mentioned she’s wanting ahead to her freedom to decide on the place she desires to go to highschool, and what to review. 

“We have all grown up with one another, you realize? I feel we’re all form of somewhat antsy to get away and go to larger locations, see extra issues and new folks. It is fairly thrilling.”

Just a few weekends in the past, Applejohn and her classmates had a grad celebration on the Folks on the Rocks web site placed on by their mother and father. 

“Everybody was having a extremely good time. But it surely was virtually form of unhappy as a result of, I imply, these are the children I grew up with,” mentioned Applejohn.

“To know that may be one of many final instances that we’re all form of collectively, celebrating and having enjoyable with one another … it was nostalgic, however form of bittersweet.”

Applejohn had some parting recommendation for her classmates.

“Do not let the longer term daunt you or scare you in any approach. Let your self be excited. Do not get too wrapped up in how traumatic it’s. Take pleasure in it. Benefit from the little issues. And likewise, keep in touch together with your previous mates from highschool and your mother and father.”

‘An absolute celebration’

Relations and academics spent hours remodeling the college’s gymnasium right into a Hollywood scene. (Submitted by Dina Lee.)

The Chief T’Selehye Faculty in Fort Good Hope had 4 grads this 12 months.

That they had a Hollywood-themed celebration, and fogeys and workers even placed on a 35 mm film-themed show of scholars from their early childhood to current day.

“Each inch of that gymnasium was reworked,” mentioned Matthew Kirby, the college’s English instructor. Aunties and uncles flew in to have fun, and a few family labored till midnight remodeling the gymnasium. 

The partitions had been black curtains, with a big marquee tent and a administrators chair for every graduate and a uncommon sight in Fort Good Hope — palm timber, he mentioned.

The neighborhood held a feast and celebration for the scholars, with a speech from Chief Tommy Kakfwi and from Edwin Erutse, president of the Yamoga Land Company. 

Chief Kafwi recalled to the scholars his personal experiences with schooling and the way proud he was of them. 

The occasion was “an absolute celebration of their achievements with the complete neighborhood concerned,” mentioned Kirby.

Beginning in late-February, the scholars had a whole lot of floor to cowl, he mentioned, as a result of pandemic.

“I’m deeply proud they usually have finished a outstanding job of working their approach, step-by-step by way of COVID instances and thru the final semester,” he mentioned. “It is simply been an awesome honour for me to be their instructor.”

Hafidah Rosyid

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