Lakehead University Filled with the Gentle Cadence…

Student with Owl at Faculty Display in Main Cafeteria
Student with Owl at Faculty Display in Main Cafeteria

THUNDER BAY – Lakehead University’s Agora was filled Thursday morning with the gentle cadence of Elder Gerry Martin’s blessing and the Thunder Mountain Singers’ powerful drum as over 200 Aboriginal students from Thunder Bay and across Northwestern Ontario gathered to take part in the Lakehead University Office of Aboriginal Initiatives and RBC’s Aboriginal Preview Day: Follow Your Dreams.

Beverly Sabourin, Vice-Provost, Aboriginal Initiatives, spoke welcoming and inspiring words to the crowd of students before they were led away to mini-sessions that explore life at Lakehead. “I am a graduate of Lakehead University,” Beverly said, “and I hope that all of you will come here to Lakehead University to pursue a first degree, and a graduate degree, and a doctoral degree. If you set your mind to it now, you can do anything. Your communities need you and we need you.”

Carrie Still, Program Coordinator Aboriginal Markets for RBC, came from Winnipeg to be part of the event, one of many that make up the RBC – Lakehead University Joint Aboriginal Outreach Program, a collaborative, one-year, four-stage pilot project. She encouraged students to stay in school and offered to speak to anyone interested in summer employment as part of the RBC’s Aboriginal Stay in School Program.

Thunder Mountain Singers entertain crowdThroughout the day, students were introduced to the multitude of post-secondary options and supports available at Lakehead University through mini-presentations, a student life expo, and a faculty/department fair.

Students enjoyed a working lunch while listening to a presentation from Constable John Walmark, Aboriginal Liaison Officer with the City of Thunder Bay Police Department who said, “I’m here to tell you that it’s your future, so take ownership. If you want a strong community, be involved in it. If you want an opportunity to change the way the government, the justice system, the healthcare system, the education system, or resource-based industries impact your life, you have to choose careers in those fields so you can play a part in making the change that you desire.”

The day ended on a high note in The Outpost as Shy-Anne Hovorka and her band performed Can’t Change the World. Shy-Anne, who is both Aboriginal and a graduate of Lakehead University, talked about her own obstacles to success and concluded by urging her student audience to “decide that you can be the change. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Whatever your dream is – go out and get it.”

Shy-anne belts out "Can't Change the World"To sum the day up, President Brian Stevenson took the stage to say that “Lakehead is a university that wants to open its arms to you. The university journey can be a difficult one but we have programs to help. The improvements you choose to make for yourself will help your families, friends, and communities, your province, and your country. We’re proud to have you here on our campus today and we hope to see you again.”

Jericho Fox, a participating student, was the lucky winner of a draw for an ipad

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