Recent History – 1999
March 24, 2000
DAWSON CREEK — Five Aboriginal Dawson Creek students got a clear message while attending a Native career fair and conference in Vancouver last month.
Rod Freeman, Grade 10, summed it up in one sentence: “Stay in school and go for your goal..”
The five, three from South Peace Senior Secondary and two from Central Middle School, traveled to the conference at Vancouver’s Canada Place on invitation of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, said teacher Caron Jones, one of the two teachers accompanying the students.
While the conference is an annual event this was the first time a Dawson Creek delegation attended, and the students said it certainly was worthwhile.
The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation is the brainchild of John Kim Bell, the first Aboriginal conductor of the Toronto Symphony. Kim Bell also spoke at the conference, as did other well-known Aboriginal community leaders such as Ted Nolan, an NHL hockey player, and Evan Adams, an actor and medical student who played in the movie Smoke Signals.
The students said they liked the speakers” life stories, as well as examining the careers that were being promoted at the career fair.
“I talked to a guy who worked at the Royal Bank,” said Brandon Campbell, a Grade 9 student at Central Middle School. “And there was a doctor who started out as a lumberjack but went back to school at 27.
“It shows it’s never too late to change your career if you don’t like it.”
Samantha Smith, a Grade 11 student at SPSS, said she enjoyed the eye-opening experience. She was especially interested in the different career options that are available in college.
“I looked what they had to offer in media arts,” she said.
Smith had another reason to like the conference: she won a photo camera in one of the prize draws.
In all, about 1,000 students visited the fair and conference, sponsored by a number of businesses such as the Royal Bank.
As for the five Dawson Creek students, they heard it loud and clear from the keynote speakers.
“Stay in school. Try your best,” said Campbell.
“That’s what most of them said,” Freeman added.