Six of Jean Wetrade Gamètì School's eight 2023 Grade 12 graduates. Clockwise from top left: Guerin Zoe, Nicole Blackduck, Davin Wedawin, Paris Drybones, Paul Chocolate, and Amelia Bekale. Photos: Jean Wetrade Gamètì School
Eight Grade 12 students are set to graduate from Jean Wetrade Gamètì School on Monday – the first time in several years Gamètì has had graduating students.
It’s also the first time one of the school’s graduates is finishing with all of the credits needed to attend university.
“This is a momentous occasion,” Jean Wetrade Gamètì School (JWGS) Principal Rita Mueller was quoted as saying in a news release earlier this week.
“Despite the numerous disruptions they faced due to the pandemic, these students displayed incredible resilience and determination in completing their senior high program,” she said.
Over the past few years, students have been dealing with school closures, a shift to remote learning and various disruptions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At JWGS, closures seriously hampered students’ progress, Richard Brock, then acting principal, told CBC last year.
“It just seemed to me that any kind of home or remote learning was an absolute disaster, from our perspective here,” he said at the time, adding that poor internet access was largely to blame.
According to Monday’s release, this year’s graduation showcases students’ and educators’ perseverance and determination.
“I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the dedicated teachers, school principal, and the entire school staff who have played a pivotal role in shaping the educational experiences of students in Gamètì,” Chief Doreen Arrowmaker was quoted as saying.
Arrowmaker added the entire community’s efforts contributed to the graduates’ success.
“It is through collaboration, unity, and belief in the power of education that we have overcome obstacles and achieved this significant milestone,” she said.
This year’s graduates include Amelia Bekale, Presley Betsidea, Nicole Blackduck, Paul Chocolate, Paris Drybones, Davin Wedawin, Jayanna Wedawin, and Guerin Zoe.
Amelia Bekale is the first student in the school’s history to graduate with all the academic prerequisites required for acceptance into university in the fall, according to Mueller.
Bekale, who has attended JWGS throughout her schooling, has been admitted to the University of Alberta.
In Monday’s release, Bekale spoke about the encouragement she received from teachers and staff at the school.
“The school became even more supportive and active during the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the lockdowns, they continued to motivate me,” she was quoted as saying.
“The wide range of support I received from the school community is what carried me through,” she added. “I am grateful beyond words for everything they have done for me.”
The graduation ceremony will take place on Monday, June 26, at 2pm in the school gymnasium. The entire community is invited to celebrate.