Pelican Falls First Nations High School Valedictory Address
Cody Kenequanash - Valedictorian
Boozhoo. I would like to first welcome the graduates, their families, and staff for coming to the 2023 Pelican Falls graduation ceremony. I am honored to be the valedictorian and I would like to congratulate the staff and students for persevering throughout the year. Going far away from home months at a time, and having work put on you constantly and meeting new people. Plus dealing with personal problems, can be a lot to deal with! And I would like to
recognize your resilience and struggles here and what it led up to; Today’s graduation.
For those who don’t know me; My name is Cody Kenequanash. I am 18 years old and from a reservation with many names: Weagamow Lake, North Caribou Lake or Round Lake. But I liked to call it Round Lake.
When I first came to Pelican Falls in late 2018, I was 14 at the time and after doing a semester of online school, I realized that I wanted to go outside of my reservation. I wanted a change of scenery after staying in my reservation for so long. I was both nervous and excited to go to Pelican. When I got to this place, it seemed so huge and foreign, with many new people from different reserves. It felt like a different world than my tiny reservation.
I have a lot of favorite memories, too many to mention here. Among the notable memories was the time I was on the student council. They were an odd bunch, but I really admired them. They were mischievous yet very serious about being part of the student council. Because of that it left an impression on me to strive further than I ever could imagine.
Then suddenly I am in my last year of high school; a senior. It feels somber leaving this place after staying here for so long and it feels exciting because I am moving on to the next stage of my life. I really enjoyed my time here at Pelican meeting so many people, learning hobbies, and expanding my experience but of course I had some tough moments with personal problems but overall I loved it. My plans after high school are to work and go to Confederation College in Thunder Bay. I am not yet sure what I exactly want to be, so I am currently enrolled for the college access program. A course for new and clueless pre-secondaries.
That’s my plan for the foreseeable future. And I would like to ask the audience and especially my fellow graduates, what is your plan for the future? Your plans could be similar to mine, going to college and getting a higher education, or your plans are to be with your family, or maybe you are going to be parents. Everyone here has a different
fate. Some may cherish their fate, or some may have no clue what their purpose is, or some may even curse their fate, but remember, your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you.