Special grad set for Cowichan aboriginal students
Hundreds of grade 12 students around the Cowichan Valley are on the verge of getting that long-deserved diploma.
The first high school graduation of the year for District 79 is the special aboriginal ceremony June 14 at 5 p.m. at the Exhibition grounds in North Cowichan.
School District 79 Superintendant Joe Rhodes explains that the ceremonies are meant to reflect the heritage of the local First Nations.
“They usually bring them in to a traditional song, the Paddle Song is traditionally what is played,” he said. “They bring them in and the dancers perform, and there’s a traditional dinner. It’s pretty neat.”
Rhodes expects teachers, principals and trustees will be at the graduation, along with lots of family members.
“The aboriginal grad is particularly significant in the community because for many of the families, it may be the first or second child that’s ever graduated in the family,” he explained. “The whole family comes out to support their niece, nephew, son, daughter, it’s a pretty proud moment for the community.”
Rhodes noted the success he’s seen over the last few years with the graduation rate for aboriginal students climbing bit by bit. Five years ago, he said under 20 students would have graduated, whereas this year, it’s between 50 and 60.
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