Kenjgewin Teg raises funds and rocks the house at seventh annual Snowflake Gala

M’CHIGEENG—It was a full house of over 300 guests for the seventh annual Kenjgewin Teg Education Institute (KTEI) Snowflake Gala earlier this month. The annual fundraiser raises money to support unfunded student programs, services and bursaries.

Following cocktails and appetizers, KTEI Director of Business and Training Beverley Roy-Carter welcomed guests to the gala held at the M’Chigeeng Community Complex.

“You know, personally, I can’t believe that’s it’s already been seven years that we’ve been getting together like this as a Manitoulin community,” began Ms. Roy- Carter. “With the holiday season just around the corner, this indeed becomes a special time to reflect and be thankful for not only all the joys and accomplishments of our past year, but it is also a great time to reflect and think about all the things we are also grateful for, and you know, one of the very first things that I think about, which all of us in this room can grateful for, is that we are all part of this wonderful place known as Mnidoo Mnising, Manitoulin Island.”

“We especially thank you, all of our guests, who come out year after year, sometimes even in snowstorms as I remember, but tonight, the weather is in our favour,” conitued Ms. Roy-Carter. “By being here tonight, you are directly supporting what we do as part of Anishinabek lifelong learning at KTEI: because it is our mission to inspire students to find their gifts to further share with the world.”

Ms. Roy-Carter recognized all the individuals who purchased their gala tickets early this year and announced the early bird winner, Keith Holtze, who won a weekendpackage for two valued at $750 for Wilderness Tours Adventure Resort.

KTEI Executive Director Stephanie Roy spoke next, noting how glamorous everyone looked and commenting on the support the gala received from area sponsors.

“I’d like to acknowledge our sponsors for this evening who have committed to sharing their support towards our fundraising efforts this year,” said Ms. Roy. “We have platinum, silver and bronze sponsors this year, whom we are so very grateful to. All our sponsors tonight can be assured that your contributions will be 100 percent dedicated to student programs and initiatives to help students succeed.”

Mnaamodzawin Health Services were a platinum sponsor for the gala, while silver sponsors included Laurentian University’s Indigenous Studies, the University of Sudbury and the Royal Bank of Canada. Watson Parojcic Financial Services and Tutor Bright were the evening’s bronze sponsors.

“As you can see from the smiles on students’ faces, graduating from their program of study represents one of many of a student’s life accomplishments,” added Ms. Roy. “As a community-based place of learning that values language and culture in education, KTEI is so very humbled that students of all ages across Manitoulin are choosing us as their place of learning. For us as staff, it is on this day of graduation that we are again reminded of why we do the work that we do–it is all for them. But we at KTEI know we cannot do this work alone. This year, we celebrated our 20th anniversary–and it is only with the support of our many partners and networks in education over these years, which makes any chance of success possible. Every time a student celebrates their graduation, it truly represents a success for all of us. We have many partners out there tonight supporting us, and for this we say an extra special miigwech.”

KTEI Elder in Residence Josh Eshkawkogan offered the thanksgiving prayer prior to dinner being serviced, while harpist Emily Weber provided dinner music.

After dinner Ms. Roy-Carter introduced the evening’s entertainers, ‘Hot Rocks,’ a Rolling Stones tribute band.

“Tonight you will swear you are seeing Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in the flesh as they are the most authentic look-alikes in the world,” she said. “Lead singer Bob Wotherspoon is North America’s most look-alike to Mick Jagger, so watch out ladies, he truly have the moves like Jagger from what I hear.”

As the party got started and gala goers took to the dance floor, raffle tickets were sold and individuals took a break to have their photo taken by Ireva Photography who was on hand for the evening.

Raffle ticket winners included Shea Cada who went home with two Manitoulin CountryFest tickets, Sam Debassige who won a $500 travel prize voucher and Carol Trudeau-McEwen who won a Wilderness Tours Adventure Resort package.

“The event was a great success,” said Ms. Roy-Carter, following the event. “We were really pleased with this year’s gala and thankful to everyone who came o