Published: June 28, 2017
By Jennifer Parsons
In June 1998 I sat in the Red Lake District High School (RLDHS) gymnasium in the “T” section. Myself and the other “T” last namers had been standing and sitting together since kindergarten. Sometimes we would be grouped by height or age in a classroom, sometimes by intellect and sometimes by athletic prowess. But more often than not we were lined up alphabetically and me and the other latter lettered last names would be at the back of the line.
As bursary after bursary was announced, I sat in the back, twiddling the fading black gown daydreaming of the end – The end of the ceremony, the end of the school year, the end of adolescence.
Jeepers – what the heck was I thinking? At the time I couldn’t wait to get going, get everything started. Leave the classes and the cliques behind. Immerse myself in the world unknown (remember this was a time without Google and Siri?) Get the h-e-double hockey sticks out of this nowhere town.
Sitting again in the RLDHS gymnasium earlier this week, this time as a spectator, I had the honour of watching some great kids receive their diplomas. Listening to their goals in life one can’t help but be impressed by their ambitions. Future nurses, actors, teachers, researchers, labourers, and even one veterinarian, adorned the black caps and gowns, maybe not quite ready, but poised to take over their world.
These ambitions are going to take many of these students away from the community. Come this fall they will be loading up suitcases and car backseats with the essentials taking their ambition and drive with them. I am a firm believer that everyone should experience the world outside of the Red Lake District at one point in their life but we also need these kids to come back.
Each year we release into the world 40 plus intelligent and studious youth with a passport to the future and along with this we should be including incentives and return tickets. There are gaps in the services available to our residents. The veterinarians in Dryden are fantastic and very accommodating to residents but wouldn’t it be a timesaver and less stress for both owners and pets to have one living here.
As of November access to privately funded physiotherapy services will be limited. There are childcare opportunities and medical jobs and technicians needed throughout the area.
While this year’s crop of graduates are still a few years from taking up these torches there is work that can be done to support and grow a community that these kids want to return to.
Because what all of us Red Lake District High School graduates have learnt since graduating is that “adulting” can really suck sometimes. But the pristine summer mornings and breathtaking sunsets of our northern oasis can make it suck a little less.
Congratulations graduates on your success. Get what you need and then head on home.