Hobbema, Alberta (October 5, 2012) – Blaine Calkins, Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, on behalf of the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, joined today Chief Marvin Yellowbird, Chief Craig Makinaw, Chief Russell Threefingers and Chief Bradley Rabbit, as well as members of their councils, staff and students of the four Hobbema Nations to celebrate the official opening of the newly renovated Maskwacis Outreach School at Ermineskin Cree Nation.
“Obtaining a high school diploma is often considered to be the first step towards reaching higher earning potential and accessing higher learning opportunities,” said MP Blaine Calkins. “The Government of Canada is working to ensure that First Nation students have access to education that encourages them to stay in school, graduate and get the skills they need to enter the labour market.”
The outreach school was initiated in 2010 at Samson Cree Nation to accommodate students who wanted to return to high school. As enrolment increased, the need for a new facility was required. As a result, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada committed $500,000 in funding to convert an existing building to school use.
“Students that come to the outreach school know that education is the greatest gift they can give themselves,” said Kevin Wells, Superintendent, Nipisihkopahk Education Authority. “With the assistance of both the federal and the four band governments, we have been able to facilitate this gift-giving by providing an environment that conforms to individual student needs and learning styles and encourages a lifelong appreciation for learning.”
The goal of the Maskwacis Outreach School is to graduate students with a high school diploma. The school uses a student-centred approach that emphasizes individual student needs and encourages lifelong learning. The programs offered by Maskwacis Outreach School are modified to accommodate the individual needs of each student. The school serves students from 15 to 20 years old who are not able to attend a regular daily school program.
This four nation joint initiative is being co-administered by Samson Cree Nation and Ermineskin Cree Nation on behalf of the four Hobbema communities: Samson Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Louis Bull First Nation and Montana First Nation. Hobbema is located approximately 90 kilometres south of Edmonton.
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