‘I did it for him’

Lakota Testawich, a recent winner of the Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award, says he put in the hard work to honour of his father.

Testawich wins prestigious award from Alberta School Boards’ Ass.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

A Peace River Glenmary School student is one of 12 winners in Alberta of the Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award.

Lakota Testawich, a Grade 11 student, received the award from the Alberta School Boards’ Association.

The award recognizes and celebrates exceptional First Nations, Metis and Inuit students based on their exemplary leadership, courage, and commitment to their cultures and educational paths.

The award also celebrates students who model strength and commitment in the pursuit of their personal education path, embrace their own gifts, strengths and potential while celebrating the ways of their people.

Students are nominated by members of their education communities.

Testawich fits that description as he has demonstrated strength and perseverance not only in his personal life but also in his academic life.

“He puts in the extra effort needed to raise his grades and reaches out to teachers when he needs help,” says a news release from Holy Family Catholic Regional Division.

“He is also very involved with his culture in the community by participating in cultural events like pipe ceremonies.”

Testawich’s award was celebrated at Holy Family’s Dec. 21 board meeting, where his certificate was presented to him virtually.

“On behalf of the board of trustees, we are very proud to have Lakota in our school system. What Lakota has done so far with his life is incredible,” says chair Kelly Whalen.

“He has touched so many lives. He has persevered through many trials that have made him stronger,” he add.

Sherry Davies-Rhodes nominated Testawich for the prestigious award.

“Lakota has had many trials and setbacks in his life. To persevere through that is amazing. Not a lot of students are willing to do that,” she says.

Testawich says he is very honoured to win the award, adding he was motivated to put in the extra effort to improve his grades because his father, who passed away in 2018, wanted him to be the first person in the family to graduate.

“I did it for him.”

Testawich was awarded a certificate, star blanket and a cheque for $300 from the Alberta School Boards’ Association.

To give a Star Blanket is to show utmost respect, honour, and admiration. To receive a Star Blanket indicates that the giver holds you in very high esteem for your generosity and accomplishments.

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