Thankful for MANS, Excited for Their Futures
I think my life would be very different if I'd gone to public school.
Krista Abt and Carlee Nepoose have much to think about—and much that they're thankful for. On June 18, 2017, they graduated from Mamawi Atosketan Native School (MANS) as part of the third high school graduating class.
For Krista, it's the only school she knows. She started Grade 1 the year that MANS opened its doors and is the first graduate to have attended MANS exclusively. Carlee came to MANS later in her career, when her parents were looking for a school with high academic and personal standards. Here's what the two students have to say:
Krista: "It feels good to be graduating but also a little weird."
For 12 years her dad has taken her to school every day. Krista's dad is one of the school's bus drivers, and Krista has a near perfect attendance record. She missed one day for her own illness and one day when day when her sister, who had been seriously injured, really needed Krista's supportive presence.
"I think my life would be very different if I'd gone to public school," Krista reflects. She knows that many of her friends have had negative peer pressure in other schools, and many of them have dropped out. Krista knows she is fortunate and gives her teachers and father much credit for her success. "My dad has really pushed me to do my best," she says. It was her dad who choose MANS after seeing how the school worked and cared about each child. That, he knew, was what he wanted for Krista.
Besides successfully completing high school, Krista has held down a job after school for the past one and a half years and is a supervisor at the Ponoka Pizza Hut. It has been a lot to juggle, but it is good preparation for her future goals in university. "I want to be a teacher or counsellor," she says.
Carlee: "This is the best place for me. I like school. It's fun learning new things every day."
But as she looked forward to graduation day, Carlee was a little less exuberant. "It feels weird to be in my last year," Carlee said just before graduation. Carlee knows that this fall will be different. She loves English, especially writing, and looks forward to finishing the novel she started two years ago, and she hopes to study at a university, perhaps in 2018.
Carlee will miss many things about MANS. "The teachers and students are nice—they're very helpful and encouraging," she says. What stands out as her greatest memory is the trip to First Nations Camp Meeting at Port Hardy, and distributing the blankets she and others collected through the Hope's Mission projects—a wonderful time of giving, sharing, and exploring.
"My parents are really happy and excited for me," says Carlee: her father, Levi Nepoose, sums it up this way: "I believe in this school."