Grad photo contest winners picture of perseverance
- Katie Doke Sawatzky | July 13, 2017
Perseverance, family support and remembrance are captured in this year’s Eagle Feather News Graduation Photo Contest winner.
In this year’s top pick, Skylar and Keegan Ratt, 17-year-old twin brothers from Pelican Narrows, proudly hold their high-school graduation diplomas from Wesmor Community High School in Prince Albert. The photo is two shots of the boys on their graduation day at the end of June.
“I’m really proud because it was our moshum’s dream for us to graduate,” said Skylar Ratt, who will be attending Saskatchewan Polytechnic in the fall to study Interactive Design and Technology.
Ratt is interested in pursuing a job in media down the road. Keegan Ratt isn’t sure about his future plans, but he knows his graduation will lead to something.
“It’s the next part of life and I’m happy I had family to push me there, like my moshum and my kokum,” said Ratt.
The brothers’ grandmother, Mildred Ratt, who is pictured with them in the photo, said the boys were happy and sad that day. Their grandfather, Horace Ratt, who passed away three months ago, had constantly encouraged the boys to stay in school.
“They were thinking of their grandpa but I told them he was there in spirit,” she said. “He was always always so proud of them and kept telling them to keep going and don’t let anything stop them and after graduation just keep on going.”
Both Ratt brothers won awards for perseverance and leadership from their school. Keegan Ratt said he was glad he had his family’s support.
“They just told me to do my best and keep going, they kept encouraging me,” he said.
Suraya Yuzicappi graduated from Bird Fox Community High School in Fort Qu’Appelle. When she walked out of her school after the ceremony, there was a big surprise waiting for her: a car.
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said. “I didn’t think it was for me at first cause I seen all the balloons and then all my family was standing right in front and they held out the keys for me and told me that that was mine.”
Yuzicappi will need the car. She was scouted to play varsity volleyball this coming fall for Briercrest College, which is about two hours from home. She’ll study kinesiology there for two years and then head off to Minot State University to complete her Bachelor of Science Education.
Like the Ratt brothers, during high school, Yuzicappi’s family encouraged her to do her best.
“[My grandma and my Mom] always told me to keep pushing my grades up as high as I can and my Grandma always said once I graduate, ‘Go back to school next year, don’t take a year off cause you never know,’” she said.
Yuzicappi said playing volleyball also helped her do well in school because she had to keep her grades up to play. She’s looking forward to making new friends at Briercrest.
Sidney Shacter graduated from Evan Hardy Collegiate in Saskatoon. Home-schooled for the first eight years of school and off and on throughout high school, Shacter took home multiple awards at graduation, including one for the highest grade average. She also won the Outstanding Female Achievement Award at the 2017 SaskTel Indigenous Youth Awards for mentoring younger female students in math and science.
“Graduation is an important milestone for me, as I think as young people we are taken more seriously once we are out of high school,” said Shacter, who will study Computer Science and Business at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall.
“I am very excited to be moving on to university and to have more of an opportunity to be involved in the real world,” she said.