Excellence in education celebrated at gala
- Katie Doke Sawatzky | May 09, 2017
Educators and students were recognized with awards at the 2017 Nation Builders Awards Gala on May 4 in Moose Jaw.
The awards are given by Treaty 4 Education Alliance, an organization that supports on-reserve education for 12 First Nations in Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan.
Kendra Taypotat won the Educational Leadership Award for her work at Goose Lake School in Sakimay First Nation.
“I guess it’s been a long time coming,” she joked about receiving her award.
Taypotat has been a teacher for 22 years and taught in Pelican Narrows and her member First Nation of Kahkewistahaw before coming to Sakimay.
“You know, I just give it my all, 100 per cent or more. There’s times I’m at work late…it’s very rewarding to know that people actually recognize it,” she said.
Taypotat is the Grade 2/3 teacher and works with students with special needs. She’s also the principal at Goose Lake. The school goes up to Grade 5 and has 50 students.
Seeing her students’ growth and accomplishments in reading and behaviour throughout the year is what Taypotat enjoys most about her job. Her motivations for working hard are the affection she receives from her students and wanting to push them to do their best. Last week’s award is now another motivation for Taypotat.
“Now it gives me more inspiration to actually push harder to actually do more,” she said. “Some people get stuck in a rut and just think it’s a job to go to, right? But I think it’s more than just a job. It’s to help the kids achieve to their highest abilities.”
“These awards are a great celebration of the educational achievements of our students and our teachers,” said Lori Whiteman, executive director of Treaty 4 Education Alliance, in a press release. “We have a rich and unique education system here in Treaty Four territory [and] the Nation Builders Awards Gala is a showcase of that.”
Along with the awards, the gala featured performances by youth from English River Dene Nation, who are part of the non-profit music organization N’we Jinan.
There are two award categories for junior and senior students and two for educators. Here are the award categories and winners:
Junior K-3 Award
Elizabeth Windigo, Muskowekwan School, Muskowekwan First Nation
Junior 4-7 Award
Landon Moise, Muskowekwan School, Muskowekwan First Nation
Emily Benjo, Keeseekoose Chiefs Education Complex, Keeseekoose First Nation
Senior 8-12 Award
Joshua Lerat, Cowessess Community Education Centre, Cowessess First Nation
Cydnee Big Eagle McArthur, Ocean Man Education Centre, Ocean Man First Nation
Educational Leadership Award
Kendra Taypotat, Goose Lake School, Sakimay First Nation
Community Building Award
Georgina McArthur, from Ocean Man First Nation