Making good on a promise

Ian Cowie
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Before Brandy Crain’s father passed away, she promised him that would she would get her high school diploma. On Thursday, she kept that promise.

Beverly Crain (centre) is presented with her high school diploma by manager of on reserve projects at Cumberland College Lois Preete (left) and Muskoday First Nation Chief Austin Bear.

Twelve people from Muskoday First Nation received their high school diploma yesterday in a celebration that spanned most the night at the Muskoday Band Hall.

Since January 2008, 117 students have been accepted into adult basic education (ABE) programs at Muskoday, and 80 students (68 per cent) have either graduated or completed the term they started said Lois Preete, manager of On Reserve Projects for Cumberland Regional College.

“Nobody said it is easy being an adult student,” Preete said in her address to the graduates. “You have all been away from school for a long time, and through the support of family, friends and elders you have accomplished something extraordinary.”

There are no age restrictions to be admitted into the ABE program at Cumberland College, and graduates ranged from 19 years of age, all the way up to 55-year-old Beverly Crain.

Crain decided to go back to school to set an example for her youngest son, who has yet to graduate.

“I hope he decides to follow in his mother’s foot steps,” she said.

The grandmother of 10 said she plans on continuing her pursuit for higher education next year at the University of Saskatchewan where she hopes to major in native studies.

“So many kids have lost their culture and traditions; I would like to help the younger generation relearn what has been lost.”

With a rapidly growing First Nations and Metis population in Saskatchewan, Eldon Crain, Muskoday First Nation education council member, says it is time for First Nations and Metis communities to take a stand on education.

“It’s our responsibility to make sure the next generation is prepared to be able to contribute and be leaders of industry in Saskatchewan,” Eldon said.

“It’s all about providing them with necessary tools so they can provide their family’s with a quality life.”

The Muskoday First Nation band provides students at Cumberland Regional College with financial assistance, a living allowance and a place to study.

Cumberland Regional College provides students with classroom supplies, teachers and helps cover administrative costs.

“This program couldn’t have been so successful if it wasn’t for the support of the Muskoday First Nations band,” Preete said.

“It’s very satisfying to see people get a second chance in life, and this will surely open up many doors for these students.”

The next admittance cycle will begin in September, 2013, and finish June, 2016. 

Organizations: Cumberland College, Muskoday First Nations, First Nations University of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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