Lakota Testawich Named Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award Winner
Posted: March 1, 2021
The Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) warmly congratulates Lakota Testawich, a grade 11 student at Glenmary School, who is one of only 12 students in Alberta to receive the Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award. This award, given by the Alberta School Boards Association, celebrates exceptional First Nations, Metis and Inuit students nominated by members of their education communities, based on their exemplary leadership, courage, and commitment to their cultures and educational paths. This award celebrates students who model strength and commitment in the pursuit of their personal education path and embrace their own gifts, strengths and potential while celebrating the ways of their people. Lakota fits that description as he has demonstrated strength and perseverance not only in his personal life but also in his academic life. He puts in the extra effort needed to raise his grades and reaches out to teachers when he needs help. He is also very involved with his culture in the community by participating in cultural events like pipe ceremonies.
Lakota’s award was celebrated at the December Regular Board Meeting, where his certificate was presented to him virtually. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are very proud to have Lakota in our school system. What Lakota has done so far with his life is incredible,” said Board Chair Kelly Whalen. “He has touched so many lives. He has persevered through many trials that have made him stronger. We are very proud to have his positive influence in our community, and we are blessed to watch him progress through the years.”
Ms. Sherry Davies-Rhodes nominated Lakota for this prestigious award. She said that when she read the criteria for the award, she immediately thought of Lakota and knew he would be successful. “Lakota has had many trials and setbacks in his life. To persevere through that is amazing. Not a lot of students are willing to do that,” said Ms. Davies-Rhodes.
Lakota says he feels very honoured to win the award, and said he was motivated to put in the extra effort to improve his grades because his father, who passed away in 2018, wanted him to be the first person in the family to graduate. “I did it for him.”
Lakota was awarded a certificate, star blanket and a cheque for $300 from the Alberta School Boards’ Association to celebrate his achievement. To give a Star Blanket is to show utmost respect, honour, and admiration. To receive a Star Blanket indicates that the giver holds you in very high esteem for your generosity and accomplishments.
HFCRD would also like to recognize Sherry Davies-Rhodes, Kellie Coen and Ashley Gagnon who all played instrumental parts in nominating Lakota for this award and ensuring Lakota would be successful at school.