Up until 2015, students from Lax Kw’alaams Coast Tsimshian Academy, who completed grade 10, were required to leave home to finish Grade 11 and 12.
“[It] was pretty tough,” said Naomi Ted White, mother of 2017 graduate Cayden White, at the thought of having to send her son away to finish school.
“I was sad as I would lose out on two more years with my son.”
A curriculum was set up for Grade 11 students in 2015-2016 school year and a new curriculum for Grade 12 was prepared after.
“One of the biggest things I found awesome this year was the school was able to tailor some of the courses for what the students needed for their career choices,” Naomi said, citing that computer programming classes were offered, which allowed her son Cayden and fellow student Angel Abrahams the opportunity to prepare for post-secondary education.
Cayden will be attending the College of New Caledonia in the fall. He spoke of the honour of being one of the first graduates from the school at Lax Kw’alaams.
“The feeling is indescribable,” he said. “It also feels great that I’ll be remembered as one of the first graduates.”
Cayden is one of 10 graduates from the Lax Kw’alaams school and offered some advice to students younger students who may not see the value in continuing their education.
“Keep on the grind,” he said, “make it a priority.”
Naomi offered advice to parents which acknowledged the difficulties young people go through, but focusing on the importance of education.
“[The] teenage years are one of the most important, hardest, but most rewarding years you go through with your child,” she said. “You have to stay on top with their assignments/classes to make sure they get all work completed. They won’t like it some days, but overall we as parents have their best interests at heart.”
She added that education was the best route to take for future success.
“No matter what your teen decides to do as their career choice, they will need some type of education,” she said.
The ceremony was held on June 17 in the Lax Kw’alaams community with local dignitaries on hand.
The Northern View reached out to Mayor John Helin, but he declined to comment.