Hello everybody! I’m so happy to be back. Recently I went with the Outside Looking In (OLI) program to one the Tim Horton’s Kids Foundation camps called The Onagonda Farms. It is located between Branford and St. George. The students were gone for two weeks, away from home without any communication to back home. They practiced in a barn everyday for two weeks, but had one day off to go Canada’s Wonderland. There were bad days but when they were together there with three other First Nation Communities (Lac La Croix, Ontario, Garden Hill and St. Theresa Point, both from Manitoba). They basically became family. Everybody had to rely on each other, trust each other and make sure everybody was okay. Everyday students would wake up at 7:30 am and have breakfast all together as a group, they would also have lunch and dinner together. While at camp, some students had struggled not having their electronic on them, but they made it through the whole two weeks and were thankful they didn’t have them. Austin Pangowish, future leader, says, “It wasn’t too bad. It actually felt good to be away from it, considering that I like being on the Internet. But it was more fun. I actually had a really good time. I really enjoyed myself at the camp.”
Students worked hard every single day, preparing for the final show. Everybody (which includes the three other communities) had to learn a whole new dance for the final number. A day before the big performance students were taken to the Sony Centre Stage to have a dress rehearsal. They got a taste of backstage (costumes, hair and makeup) so by the next day they were prepared for two shows. On the final performance day everybody was full of excitement and tears. The crowd was going crazy for all the amazing dancers up on the stage. When I asked student Tessa Copper how she felt after performing on the stage she said, “I felt pretty great about myself. Full of excitement and I felt a little emotional because I did something I thought I wasn’t able to do. It felt amazing; I had goosebumps, tears coming out of my eyes. It was the best experience.”
Now that OLI is back at school after two weeks, students are quickly adapting back to the school life. They are already thinking of planning for next year’s fundraising. They have planned performances for the community. When I asked Alexandria Shawongonabe how she feels from the beginning of the program to now (after the show) and if she felt any different, Alexandria replied: “At the beginning I was really excited to be dancing again, throughout all of the practices it was kind of scary knowing that some people were on the edge of getting cut for behavioural reasons and academics and maybe just not knowing the choreography, but making it to camp with almost everybody was awesome, making us the biggest group there. The camp really brought us all a lot closer, making us dance better on stage, so that made the performance so much more fun. I’m sad the performance is over because this is the point where people become less motivated to do performances – it might be because they don’t compare it to being on stage in Toronto.”
On another note, Wikwemikong High School attended NSSSAA for Track and Field in Elliot Lake. Everybody gave it their all and some will be going to NOSSA. The track team consisted of the following students: Harmony Rivers, Andre Rivers, Delani Trudeau, Matthew O, Dehmin Eshkawkogan and myself. Harmony had placed first in midget high jump, Dehmin had placed second in midget high jump. Delani placed first in midget shot put.
The Warriors also completed the Spartan Race in Mont Tremblant, Montreal. It was a very big accomplishment crossing over the finish line, it took some over five hours to complete the race but they did it and that’s all that matters! The whole team should be very proud of the hard work they put into this. If you’re wondering what it felt like for students to complete this race, I asked team member Adrian Trudeau how he felt and he said, “After the race I just felt so accomplished from last year’s spartan race. This year was a lot harder and more challenging. I was so happy I made it at the end. On the run I was so mad from the big hills but I was happy to be done and just wait for my little brother at the finish line and I was so proud of the whole team. Everyone there tried there hardest and pushed there bodies to the limit. Overall, I was just proud to say I did one of the top spartan races in Canada and finished.”
There is a video of the teams experience in Mont Tremblant, you can watch it at this link (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Kbt01NGTpII), the video is done by team member Elliot Simon.
I recommend you watch the videos I mentioned, they are amazing! Thanks for reading, see you next week! Miigwech.