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FMPSD Launches FNMI Student Advisory Council

As Aboriginal Awareness Week kicks off from May 22-25 at the Fort McMurray Public School District (FMPSD), we are proud to launch the District’s first ever First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI) Student Advisory Council.

FMPSD hosted 18 Indigenous students (photo below) from junior and senior high schools to hear their ideas, collect information, suggestions, and feedback in order to help improve their education.

                                                                                                                          

"It was an eye opening experience and I would love to come back again to learn more, and to experience more with the people who are equally or more involved with the Indigenous community,” said Salima Thibault, a grade nine student at École McTavish, who recently won the Indigenous Spirit Award from the Alberta School Boards Association.

“I learned from other represented student groups there. For instance, each student who attended had a different spiritual ceremony and a way to express their culture,” added Salima.

Angela Woods, FNMI Lead, FMPSD, oversaw the group.

“These students were so enthusiastic and committed to bettering their education, and for future students. It was such a joy to hear their voices and watch how their confidence and interest grew as the day went on. It was also a time for sharing stories (traditional and educational). We had Indigenous guests join us to share the importance of education and how it played a role in their life successes and accomplishments,” explained Woods.  

In addition, she noted, having the Student Advisory Council is important for multiple reasons.

“First and foremost, the major goal is to support the success and education of FNMI students. The second priority is to hear them, their concerns, and ideas so that we can further embed FNMI traditions, culture and history into our daily practices in education.”

The resounding success of the first meeting was evident in students asking when they could meet again.  

“The meeting was extremely positive and successful. Students have already come up with ideas for future meetings. At the end of the day they were asked to provide a few positive words they took from the meeting and the three words that stuck out prominently were PRIDE, SUCCESS, and SUPPORT. It is a feeling of accomplishment for the students and therefore, the day was a success. I am overjoyed that the students see the goals and purpose of the group and that they are willing and excited to see what the future brings with our FNMI Student Advisory Council.  We have some BIG ideas planned for upcoming meetings,” she enthused.

Superintendent Doug Nicholls was pleased with the launch of this important group.

“I was delighted to see such engagement and energy at our first meeting. Our students will help shape the future of our Indigenous programming in Fort McMurray Public School District. Thanks to the students and to Mrs. Wood for leading this initiative.”