Students Cameron Garner and Mindy Philips unveil one of the two totem poles which now outline the door to Seabird College. MC Jason Campbell

Raising the poles of success at Seabird Island

First Nations band celebrates government approval at Seabird College and unveils two totem poles to adorn entrance

Official dignitaries, students, staff and citizens gathered to celebrate the forward movement at Seabird College last week.

In a windy outdoor ceremony, positive words flowed from the MC, the chief and other dignitaries about the importance of this moment, commemorated by the raising of two totem poles which outline the entrance to the local college doors.

“We’re taking care of something that really belongs to our children and grandchildren,” said Chief Clem Seymour.

The gathering was organized to unveil two new totem poles for the college and to celebrate the college’s recent approval from the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of BC (PCTIA). PCTIA, a Crown Corporation, sets basic education standards for registered private career training institutions in B.C. and establishes standards of quality which must be met.

Tyrone McNeil, Seabird College committee chair, spoke about the significance of the day.

“We’re identifying and giving recognition on the next steps of growth and education here in the community,” said McNeil.

He paid tribute to Diane Janzen, director of education for the Seabird Island band, and her team for the hard work they did to achieve the PCTIA approval.

“It means we’re delivering programs of a standard that the province recognizes,” said McNeil. “It’s not easy to be certified, but Diane and her staff have been diligent.”

He said in no way does this mean they are finished growing, but that it’s important to pause and celebrate this step.

Janzen spoke at the ceremony as well, explaining the two-year process for this milestone. She praised the Chief and Council and the Board of the College for having this great vision. She stated that Seabird College is unique, allowing adults who want to complete their high school education and train for a trades career to do both at the same time.

“We can’t have cookie-cutter eduction, because it doesn’t work,” she said, adding they have a “wrap-around” model of support to promote student growth and development.

The day was marked with celebration, as two totem poles were unveiled. The beautifully-handcrafted pieces of art feature a bear, a wolf and a beaver, representing the values of leadership, family values and work ethic.

The totem poles were carved by inmates at Mountain Institution in an ongoing collaborative partnership. Mountain Institution Warden Shawn Huish says this partnership helps the institution achieve one of their main goals, which is encourage the inmates to become law abiding citizens through partnerships such as this.

“The offenders that worked on those totems, many didn’t know their culture,” says Hewitt. “They began to learn about where they came form while working on the poles. They’ve actually had a chance for their hands to work on something good instead of evil.”

 

-30-

Just Posted

Highway 7 down to one-lane alternating as crews fight Mt. Hicks wildfire

150-hectare blaze prompted closure of a provincial park

Night patrol on Chilliwack waters leads DFO to seize 48 sockeye and harbour seal from poachers

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for fishing at night

WATCH: Recruitment set to start for the Molson Coors Brewery at Chilliwack

There were about 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and some staff now being sought

Chilliwack goes cluck-cluck for chickens ahead of civic election

With an election in sight, urban chickens supporters ramp up their efforts for legal acceptance

Wildfire smoke brings in air quality advisory for Lower Mainland

People with health conditions are urged to avoid the outdoors

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Hot, dry conditions forces drought rating to highest level on Vancouver Island

The province says Vancouver Island is under Stage 4 drought conditions

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Most Read