It was interesting to see several prominent people at Georges P. Vanier in recent months, who present themselves as role models to youth.
Dallas Arcand and Tracy Bone were at the school on Nov. 16. Arcand is a three-time world champion hoop dance and Bone is a singer.
Arcand is from Alexander First Nation near Edmonton and Bone hails from Keeseekoowemin Ojibway First Nation near Brandon, Manitoba. They both had tales to tell about their lives and they promoted a positive message to youth.
Arcand also demonstrated his hoop dancing talent, showing off his ability to put as many as a dozen hoops into play. His message to the youth was: follow your own path in life and share your talents with others.
Bone performed a song she wrote entitled ‘Women of Red’. She wrote it in honour of her grandmothers who went through the residential school system.
Her message was that, while those who went through the residential school system suffered much hardship and many painful memories, it is possibile to overcome them and forgive those who imposed it.
Another public figure who visited Georges P. Vanier on Dec. 6 was Kenny Dobbs, the world champion slam dunker. He talked to the junior high students.
Dobbs didn’t have an easy life growing up in New Mexico. He got involved with drugs and gangs and had his share of prison time before he turned his life around.
Dobbs set goals for himself, which included finishing high school and going on to become the slam dunk champion of the world.
Dobbs told the students that they can make their dreams happen, but they have to work for it, as he did.
The students were impressed with his message. But they were even more impressed when he demonstrated his slam dunk techniques, which included grabbing the ball from a standing person and jumping over them to connect with the basket.
The students applauded his skills and participated in some two-on-two games with him as well.
I also remember meeting Adam Beach up in Thompson, Manitoba in the summer of 2002. Beach, who is originally from Manitoba and starred in the movie ‘Windtalkers’ with Nicolas Cage, had his struggles early in life and was raised by an uncle. But he overcame his struggles and became an inspirational leader in his own right.
What you get with Arcand, Bone, Dobbs and Beach are outstanding role models. They had their struggles in life that youth today can identify with. They are society’s real heroes who provide inspiration.
Youth should look to them for wisdom.
Moreover, youth who are struggling with their own lives can be tomorrow’s leaders and heroes to other youth – if they strive to work hard and seek out excellence.
That is how I conclude this weekly column for the final paper of the year.
To all, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And I’ll see you in 2018.