Wapekeka First Nation Celebrates Temporary School Opening

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Temporary school keeps the learning going - photo by Jez Winter
Temporary school keeps the learning going - photo by Jez Winter
Temporary school keeps the learning going - photo by Jez Winter
Temporary school keeps the learning going – photo by Jez Winter

THUNDER BAY – “This is an example of WFN leadership prayers, planning and political assertion. The work done by Chief Brennan Sainnawap and Council, and James Brown and school staff,” stated Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day. “I found it to be an example for many on how to respond to the needs and rights of a community education system and to work toward happiness and hope for Our Children”.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox were in Wapekeka First Nation on Wednesday to celebrate the opening of a temporary facility to replace the community’s school destroyed by fire last year.

“The loss of the school was a devastating event and we congratulate Chief Brennan Sainnawap and the entire community for their tremendous effort to ensure that their children’s education continued with as little disruption as possible,” said Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox, who holds the education portfolio.

The Reverend Eleazar Winter Memorial School was destroyed by fire on May 13, 2015. The four-classroom facility was built in 1990 and housed approximately 150 students in classes from junior kindergarten to Grade 9.

Faced with the loss of the school year, the community and educators scrambled to save the year by home-schooling students and rotating classes in other community buildings. The community also received assistance from Books With No Bounds which provided books, computers and other supplies.

“We are proud to celebrate the opening of this temporary facility so these children can continue with their education in a suitable environment while a new facility is constructed, and we encourage the Government of Canada to work with the community so a new school can be constructed as quickly as possible,” said Fox.

Wapakeka First Nation is located approximately 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay with an on-reserve population of approximately 350 people.

Wapakeka FN

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