Kwayaciiwin hosts Interactive Career Exploration fair at SNHS
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Kwayaciiwin Education Resource Centre (KERC) hosted an interactive career exploration fair at Sioux North High School (SNHS) on Nov. 28.
Along with over 100 students from SNHS, around 50 grades 5 to 8 students from Missabay School in Mishkeegogamang First Nation, Bimaychikamah School in Slate Falls First Nation, and Saugeen School from Ojibway Nation of Saugeen attended the fair.
KERC technology and performance measurement lead Monika Orzechowska shared that KERC has been organizing interactive career exploration fairs in remote First Nations schools over the past two years.
“It’s the first time we’ve been able to do it in Sioux Lookout. I have funding through the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy, which is through Indigenous Services Canada. The past two years, we’ve traveled to three communities each year. We’ve flown up around 20 people who come in for a day, set up, and host this hands-on idea of exploring careers with students,” she said.
The fair featured representation from SkyCare, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Treasury Metals, Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, digital artist Gabrielle Cosco, professional photographer Brent Wesley, musician Melody McKiver, Aboriginal law and Indigenous and treaty rights lawyer Catriona Dooley, KERC Student Nutrition Program Coordinator Kanina Terry who also had students fleshing a deer hide, and arborist Jesse Terry who also brought in some of his sled dogs for the students.
Orzechowska shared that she’s really pleased to have the students be able to meet these different representatives because of how well they can engage students.
“In most cases, we have worked with these different representatives before so we know that they’re really interactive. That’s the key, and they know that it’s not about just handing out some information and a pencil. It’s about having things that are going to make people want to look, check it out, and feel it. It’s the tools of the trade and things that represent the job and not just promotional stuff,” she said.
Both the students and vendors agreed that the fair was a good learning opportunity.
“It’s a bit tougher for me to provide that visual element for the kids, so trying to figure that out was a learning process. I decided to make a model court room to show the kids what it looks like and have them try to label the different elements as well,” said Aboriginal law and Indigenous and treaty rights lawyer Catriona Dooley.
“It was good to see the different options I have for when I’m older. I still don’t really know what I want to do yet,” said Missabay School student Salvatore Roundhead.
Orzechowska emphasized that the main goal of the fairs is to show students that it’s worth toughing it out to get their education, and where that education can take them in the long run.
“It’s for people to see things that they may not see on a day-to-day basis and it might tweak some kind of an interest they have. Of course, the ultimate thing is to show that it’s worth hanging in there for school. There’s a whole world of opportunities out there beyond what you might see in the community,” she concluded.