Pikangikum First Nation celebrates graduating class, agreement with Queen’s

Eenchokay Birchstick School in the Pikangikum First Nation recently celebrated its largest ever graduating class, as well as the launch of a partnership with Queen’s University that will give students the opportunity to pursue postsecondary study within their own community. 41 people of various ages graduated from the school, including mother-and-daughter pair Geraldine Peters and Lakota Peters, Chief’s Award winner Jordin Turtle, and valedictorian Denzel Quill. Pikangikum First Nation’s Chief Shirley Keeper shared a song with the graduates about overcoming adversity with the hope of planting a song in their hearts: “Not to stop today, but to keep going, using the words in that song.” After the graduation ceremony, the school signed a memorandum of understanding with Queen’s that will enable graduates to pursue a Bachelor of Education program while staying in their community. The partners hope to prepare future teachers who are fluent in Ojibway with the goal of one day having the school staffed with teachers who are completely bilingual in Ojibway and English.