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News: Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Role Models Honoured

On February 2,2017 at the Mamele’awt Community Aboriginal Centre, the Abbotsford School District honoured the 2016 Aboriginal Youth Role Models. Bullfrog Nairn, a 2016 graduate from WJ Mouat Secondary, and Patricia Sterling, a grade 12 student at Yale Secondary, were honoured with a traditional Sto:lo ceremony.

Mr. Perry Smith, Director of Curriculum, was the traditional speaker and explained the meaning of the traditional ceremony. Before entering, Bullfrog and Patricia were covered with a blanket and a Salish weaving headband to symbolize the community embrace of the individuals.  Participants doing the work of the ceremony are also blanketed over the shoulder and heart and given a headband as a reminder to have good thoughts and a good heart.

As Bullfrog and Patricia were brought into the ceremony by two Sto:lo drummers, they walked around the four corners of the assembly in a counter-clockwise direction. At the front of the room, four blankets were laid on the floor by women from the family. In Sto:lo culture, women are the carriers of life and knowledge and this special work is done by them. At the ceremony, Bullfrog and Patricia each had their grandmothers prepare the floor and lay the blankets. Each honouree has a Receiver who has helped them on their learning journey, who placed them on the blankets.  Each person called to do this important cultural work at the ceremony receives quarters.  Witnesses are called to watch and report to their communities, and may be asked to speak at the ceremony.  Witnesses were Brian Bell, Yale teacher, Travis Bell, Mouat teacher, Paul McKee, family member and Cindy Schafer, trustee.  Special thanks also to Deleine Perrie and Michele Schroeder, the Aboriginal Support Workers at Yale and Mouat Secondary.

Bullfrog and Patricia were nominated as Aboriginal Youth Role Models and were selected by the District for their efforts and determination. As a District and community we are so very proud of their accomplishments. They are hardworking students, who are curious and keen to learn new things. They are supportive of their peers, encourage others, and above all they have persevered to achieve their goals.

Well done and congratulations Bullfrog and Patricia!