SNHS celebrates record-breaking graduating class
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Family members, friends, staff, and area leadership filled the Sioux North High School (SNHS) gymnasium to celebrate the graduating class of 2019 on June 28.
During the ceremony, Victor Lyon led drummers in an honour song, followed by remarks from Keewatin Patricia District School Board Superintendent of Education Tania Sterling and SNHS principal Wayne Mercer.
Along with being the first graduation ceremony to be held at SNHS, Mercer shared that the day was also historic because of the record-breaking number of graduates.
“I welcome all of you on this historic occasion as the first graduation ceremony at Sioux North High School. It is also historic as we have set a new record for the most graduates in a single convocation in the history of Sioux Lookout. Today 110 graduates will cross the stage, smashing the old record of 93,” said Mercer.
Kristin King was the guest speaker, and this year’s valedictory address was presented by Jessica Darling.
This year’s Ontario Secondary School Diploma recipients were: Musa Abubeker, Claudia Albany, Alexandre Anderson, Darien Anderson, Sharilyn Anderson, Michaela Angeconeb, Damon Angees, Brandon Apetawakeesic, Cameron Bailey, Katelyn Bailey, Hailey Barkman, Jerrell Bighead, Brianna Bighead-Loon, Renae Bird, Brendan Bonneteau, Gabriel Bridge, Jeric Briones, Victoria Brunton, Ebony Capay, Aiden Carroll, John Chaytor, Jessica Darling, Tyra Derouin, Marissa Desserre, Braeden Dixon-Bolen, Dominique Duguay, Addison Dumonski, Cecilee Duncan, Christopher Edwards, Phyllis Elsir, Diego Feria-Gonzalez, Gavyn Fiddler, Jordan Fiddler, Serenity Fiddler, Ticanna Fiddler, Darius Finlayson-Shebagabow, Breeanna Fox, Hayden George, Therron Goodwin, Erin Jacko, Tristen Kakegamik, Cody King, Autumn Koostachin, Kylie Koval, Joel Kulchyski, Emmery Lawson, Isaiah Lawson, Natasha Lawson, Emma LeConte, Kyra Linklater, Jordyn Luomala, Brandi MacMillan, Erica Mainville, Jaden Marshall, Brett Martin, Ambrose Maud, Maximus Maud, Mingquin Mawakeesic, Nathan Mawakeesic, Carmen McKay, Grayce McKay, Andrew McKenzie, Eva McKenzie, Austin Meekis, Joshua Meekis, Bernie Mekanak, Danis Mekanak, Levi Melnichuk, Sagel Mercer, Sonja Moonias, Darlene Morris, Vincent Nadeau, Elyssia Nanokeesic, MacKenzie Necan, Emilio Ningewance, Troy Ningewance, Sundance Patayash, Madison Perreault, Rae-Lynn Perreault, Marek Popovic, Jerome Quequish, Lisa Quill, Yzerman Quil, Genevieve Saint Onge, Keiara Sawanas, Scarlett Schumacher, Naomi Seamark, Jeremy Sergerie, Elliot Shapwaykeesic, Joseph Sithole, Jayden Skunk, Michelle Slipperjack, Keegan Southwind, Jonah Spence, Jack Spooner, Jamie Tait, Jakob Thivierge, Trinity Thompson-Cheesequay, Dylan Thwaites, Jillian Toms, Jade Trout, Christine Tuesday, Logan Wanakamik, Makayla Watts, Cristopher Wesley-Wilder, Alexandria Whiskeyjack, Michael Wilson, Samantha Wood, and Kelsie Young.
Sioux North High School Valedictorian Address
Jessica Darling - SNHS Valedictorian
Good afternoon and welcome parents and family, staff, community members, and our school drum, Makwa, to the first Sioux North High School graduation ceremony.
And to the graduates of 2019: First off, thank you for the honour of speaking on your behalf. I would like to start by saying that you all have the power to change the world. Now before you roll your eyes, believe me, I know you have all heard those exact words about fourteen-thousand times before, but it’s true. You have the power to change the world, and you already have. Every time you smiled at someone (who maybe didn’t smile back), every time you gave a nice compliment to someone who needed it, helped your friend study for their dreaded biology test, or donated a box of Kraft Dinner to a Christmas hamper, you made a difference. Members of our graduating class helped to raise over $20,000 for cancer research, we’ve pie’d a lot of teachers in their faces for charity, and we’ve decked out in green and gold to rally around our Warriors teams, win or lose. The class of 2019 has made a difference not only in our school, but in Sioux Lookout, and beyond. I’ve added it up, and together, we have completed over 5000 hours of volunteer work!
In addition to these great accomplishments, many of us share the classic high school memories of freezing our toes off on Outdoor Ed. quinzhee trips, the fear of messing up Mr. Osmond’s perfect order of collecting multiplication quizzes, and everyone’s favourite: being guinea pigs for the online version of the OSSLT. We have sat back to listen to math and science teachers argue about who is smarter, either loved or hated running the beep test, and survived the move to a new building in the middle of the school year. We got to say goodbye to portables, goodbye to dusty chalkboards, and goodbye to freezing cold classes in the lunchroom. Athletes in our graduating class have competed in nine OFSAAs and there have been even more NorWOSSA and NWOSSAA successes.
But we didn’t get here on our own. On behalf of the graduating class, I would like to thank several people who have helped us succeed throughout high school, and who have made an impact on our lives. To all the Education Authorities, who have provided students from Northern First Nations communities with an opportunity to attend high school and to build relationships with people in Sioux Lookout. To the grad coaches of the 4 Directions program for providing support and kindness to those who are far away from home. To our teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for us to reach our goals. To our coaches who have always encouraged us to work hard and to never give up on our dreams. To our parents and guardians who have stuck by us, providing support when we needed it most and instilling values that we will carry with us throughout our lives. And finally, to our peers for supporting one another through everything over the last four years.
Four years ago, we marched into QEDHS like we owned the place to join an incredible legacy. Today, we become the first graduates of Sioux North High School and we will create our own legacy, establishing the path that hundreds of seventeen-year-old Northwest Ontarians will follow after we leave this chapter of our lives. No matter what direction your life decides to take you, whether you will be working, moving away to go to school, starting a business, travelling, returning to home communities to spend time with family, raising children, volunteering, or focusing on something else next year, I challenge you to keep finding ways to make our world a better place.
As Michael Redhead Champagne put it, “Young people are often referred to as ‘leaders of tomorrow’. We don’t got time for that: you need to be leaders of today.”
Congratulations, Class of 2019, and keep changing the world in your own little ways.
Sioux North High School awards and bursaries
Lisa Quill - Deer Lake Graduation Award, KO Award
Claudia Albany - Shibogama Education Award, Kasabonika First Nation Award.
Alexandre Anderson - Shibogama Education Award, Kasabonika First Nation Award
Darien Anderson - Union of Health & Environment Workers Bursary
Sharilyn Anderson - Shibogama Education Award, Kasabonika First Nation Award, Jethro Anderson Language Award Michaela Angeconeb - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Damon Angees - Shibogama Education Award, Wunnumin Lake High School Achievement Award Brandon Apetawakeesic - Windego Education Award, North Caribou Lake Education Award
Hailey Barkman - SNHS Experiential Education Coop Award, Sachigo Lake Education Award, Windego Education Award, Jethro Anderson Academic Award
Jerrell Bighead - SNHS Experiential Education Oshtugon Musical Leadership Award, Slate Falls Choose Life Graduation Award, Windego Education Award
Brianna Bighead-Loon - KPDSB Award, Slate Falls Choose Life Award, Rotary Club Bursary, Windego Education Award
Renae Bird - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Gabriel Bridge - Deer Lake Graduation Award, KO Award, Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association Award, Municipality of Sioux Lookout Award
Jeric Briones - CUPE Union 1939 Bursary
Victoria Brunton - KPDSB Award
Ebony Capay - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Aiden Carroll - KPDSB Award
Jessica Darling - Northwest Catholic District School Board Bursary, OSSTF District 5A TBU Bursary, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #78 Legion Ladies Auxiliary Bursary, Jennifer McKenzie Award of Merit, Rotary Club Bursary
Marissa Desserre - TCRC Union Award, Royal Canadian Legion Branch #78 Edwin Switzer Memorial Bursary, Barnabas Award
Braedon Dixon-Bolen - CUPE Union 2141 Bursary, AEP Graduation Award
Addison Dumonski - KPDSB Award, ETFO Elementary Teachers Federation Award
Cecilee Duncan - Sioux Lookout Salvation Army Bursary
Diego Feria Gonzalez - Encouragement Award, Principal's Bronze Academic Medal, Science North Medal, Elsie Cosco Memorial Scholarship
Phyllis Elsir - SNHS Experiential Education Food and Nutrition Award, Sioux Lookout Gymnastics Club Bursary, Jennifer McKenzie Award of Merit, Principal’s Award for Student Leadership, Principal’s Silver Academic Medal Gavyn Fiddler - KPDSB Award Jordan Fiddler - Northern Lights Community Theatre Drama Award
Ticanna Fiddler - KPDSB Award
Hayden George - Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association Award
Therron Goodwin - Lac Seul Education Authority Ontario Power Generation Award
Erin Jacko - Grand Council Treaty #3 Most Improved Student Bursary, Nishnawbe-Gamik Friendship Centre Mino Bimaadiziwin Award
Autumn Koostachin - Deer Lake Graduation Award, KO Award
Kylie Koval - CUPE Union 2141 Bursary, John Carroll Memorial Bursary
Joel Kulchyski - KPDSB Award
Emmery Lawson - Lac Seul Education Authoriity Ontario Power Generation Award
Isaiah Lawson - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Natasha Lawson - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award Kyra Linklater - Bearskin Lake Graduation Award, Windego Education Award
Brandi MacMillan - KPDSB Award
Erica Mainville - KPDSB Award
Jaden Marshall - McKenzie Recreation Association Richard A George Award, Orlando Lago Memorial Bursary
Brett Martin - KPDSB Award
Ambrose Maud - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award Maximus Maud - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award Mingquin Mawakeesic - Deer Lake Graduation Award, KO Award, Sioux Lookout Salvation Army Bursary,Paul Panacheese Humanity Award
Nathan Mawakeesic - NNEC Recognition Award, Sandy Lake Graduation Award
Carmen McKay - Fort Severn Graduation Award, KOSSS Award
Andrew McKenzie - OSSTF District 5A TBU Bursary, Beta Sigma Phi Bursary Epsilon Zeta Chapter Award
Austin Meekis - KO Award
Joshua Meekis - Deer Lake Graduation Award, KO Award, KPDSB Award
Bernie Mekanak - Windego Education Award
Danis Mekanak - Windego Education Award
Sagel Mercer - Ontario Principal's Council Award, Sioux Lookout Salvation Army Bursary, KPDSB Award
Darlene Morris - SNHS Experiential Education Music Award, Melody McIver Musical Strings Award, Shibogama Education Award, Kasabonika First Nation Education Award
Elyssia Nanokeesic - Independent First Nations Alliance Bursary, Big Trout Lake Education Authority Accomplishment of Secondary Education Award, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Education Graduation Award
Emilio Ningewance - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Troy Ningewance - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award.
Sundance Patayash - North Caribou Lake Education Award, Windego Education Award
Marek Popovic - Ontario Public Service Employees Union Award, Dick Davidosn Legacy Bursary
Jerome Quequish - North Caribou Lake Education Award, Windego Education Award
Genevieve Saint Onge - Lieutenant Govenors' Community Volunteer Award
Keiara Sawanas - NNEC Recognition Award, Sandy Lake Graduation Award
Scarlett Schumacher - KPDSB Award, SNHS Science Award, Governor General Award with an average of 95.29 %, Principal's Gold Academic Medal, Elsie Cosco Memorial Scholarship
Naomi Seamark - Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre Hugh Allen Bursary
Jeremy Sergerie - Dylan Hyatt Memorial Award, KPDSB Award
Elliot Shapwaykeesic - Paul Martin Foundation Indigenous Youth AYEP Award
Jayden Skunk - KPDSB Award
Michelle Slipperjack - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Keegan Southwind - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Jonah Spence - Shibogama Education Award, Wunnumin Lake High School Achievement Award
Jack Spooner - Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association Award
Jamie Tait - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Jakob Thivierge - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Jillian Toms - Blueberry Bert's Business & Travel Award, Sioux Lookout Chamber of Commerce Award
Jade Trout - Lac Seul Education Authority - Ontario Power Generation Award
Logan Wanakamik - Fort Severn Graduation Award, KO Award
Chris Wesley-Wilder - Slate Falls Choose Life Award, Windego Education Award
Alexandria Whiskeyjack - Shibogama Education Award, Slate Falls Choose Life Award, Windego Education Award
Michael Wilson - SNHS Experiential Education Sioux-Per Auto Parts Transportation Technology Award
Ursula Winter - Shibogama Education Award, Wapekeka First Nations Council Award, Wapekeka Social Services Award, Wapekeka Education Award