South Peace News
High Prairie Elementary School student Arianna Palisoc was honoured Sept. 29 after being nominated for a provincial Indigenous award for the 2021-22 school year.
Palisoc was given honourable mention in the Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Awards in the Grade 4-6 category in the north region.
Now in Grade 5, Palisoc was presented a certificate at a school assembly Sept. 29, the day before Orange Shirt Day and the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
She was honoured with the recognition.
“I was happy when I received the certificate at the assembly,” says Palisoc, the daughter of Jean and Sam Palisoc.
She was nominated by her teacher, Crystal Larose, last spring.
“I nominated Arianna for her positive outlook about herself in her school community through her culture,” Larose says.
High Prairie School Division vice-chair Tammy Henkel presented the special certificate and read part of the nomination from Larose.
“Arianna is a strong, brilliant lady who is an asset to her school community and a leader in promoting Indigenous culture,” the nomination states.
“She demonstrates leadership at school through her involvement with many activities that highlight Indigenous culture.
“Arianna has great attendance and is dedicated to her studies.
“In addition, she displays honesty and personal integrity.
“She recognizes her cultural identity not only as a celebration but as a way of life.
“Arianna enjoys Metis art, jigging, fishing, cooking and hearing oral stories from family and Elders.
“Arianna is a positive role model for her sister, Scarlett, and shows confidence in who she is as an Indigenous person while encouraging others to the do the same.
“She honours her ancestors by sharing her knowledge with friends, proudly wears traditional clothing such as her sash and ribbon skirt and seeks knowledge from family.
“Along with her family, she makes connections to her ancestors’ way of life as harvesters and trappers.
“By practising traditional harvesting, she recognizes that this not only honours who her ancestors were, but also who she is as an Indigenous person today.”
Henkel then congratulated Palisoc on behalf of HPSD.
“Arianna, you exemplary leadership, courage and commitment to your culture and your educational path are shining exemplars for your peers.”
Palisoc takes great pride in her Indigenous culture.
“When I was in Grade 4, I wore my ribbon skirt and sash to school one day and a lot of students said I shouldn’t wear them to school and I got really upset,” Palisoc says.
“I followed them around and showed them I do care about my Indigenous culture.”
She also explains her commitment to her culture.
“I said I wear them to bless and honour by ancestors, grandparents and my mother,” Palisoc says.
“It helped students understand that I am proud of my culture.”
Created by the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA), the Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Awards celebrate exceptional First Nations, Metis and Inuit students nominated by citizens of their education communities based on their exemplary leadership, courage and commitment to their cultures and chosen educational paths.
Recipients inspire their peers, teachers, education leaders and local citizens while respecting the agency of other students to do the same in their own ways.
The ASBA received more than 270 nomination letters and submissions for the 2021-22 school year from across the province.
Overall awards are presented to recipients in the north, central and south regions in grade categories of kindergarten to Grade 3, Grades 4-6, Grades 7-9 and Grades 10-12. One award is presented for each grade category in each region for a total of 12 awards.