SIMFC grad gala continues to grow
- EFN Staff | July 17, 2016
Bill Mintram has seen the Saskatoon Indian and Métis Friendship Centre Annual Graduation Gala from both sides and is pretty impressed with what is happening. More and more Aboriginal graduates each year.
“All I can say is that the community is really behind this event and it has grown because of it,” said Mintram the Executive Director of the Friendship Centre and a Saskatoon grad who attended this event many years ago. Now in its 32nd year, the event is more popular than ever.
Related: Saskatoon's Aboriginal graduates honoured
“Just five years ago, we had 200 people and 50 graduates. Now this year we had 700 people and 179 graduates. And we are just barely meeting the demand. It is a great event where the community as a whole stands up and honours our grads.”
Maggie Eastman was one of those graduates. She was one of 75 grads from Oskayak High School that could attend the event. And to her surprise, she was voted as valedictorian.
“I was real honoured when I found out that other graduates voted for me to be their valedictorian. During the event, it still didn't hit me that it was actually happening and I was that much closer to graduating,” said the outstanding student and current FSIN Powwow Princess. “Well I've been going to Oskayak since grade 9 and it was probably one of the best decisions ever made. I feel like you won't get that type of "at home" feeling anywhere else. Biggest highlight of my night was just seeing all the graduates look so proud and happy to be who they are. The Friendship Centre hosted a really awesome event that I won't ever forget.”
More on 2016 graduates:
- Our 2016 grads are the picture of success
- PHOTO GALLERY: 2016 Grad photo contest winners
- SIIT celebrates 40 years of graduations
- Record number of graduates honoured at U of S powwow
The event is made possible through the support of key sponsors including Affinity Credit Union, the Dakota Dunes Development Corp and BHP Billiton. A highlight of the night is the handing out of over 25 scholarships.
“The money can really impact those students’ lives,” added Mintram. “And we honour each individual no matter their grade or if they received a scholarship. This is an important milestone in their lives and we are honoured to share this time with them.”