November 10th, 2011 – Aboriginal students at St. Charles College took part in a university and college fair on November 10 in the school gymnasium. The information sessions allowed students to choose their post secondary options with the help of each school’s Aboriginal Recruitment Officer. There were twenty-two post secondary institutions from across the province taking part.
The event was arranged by the school’s Native Studies department. Native Studies teacher Jennifer Petahtegoose has been organizing the event for the last three years. She says students from grades 10 to 12 are being included.
Melvin Peltier, a Native Student Recruitment Officer with Sault College says, “Aboriginal students don’t always go to the big university and college information nights. These students much prefer a small setting and more of a one-on-one experience.”
Two years ago, Brandon Langella found his niche. He started high school and when he wasn’t doing school work, he began making music on his home computer. Brandon discovered he had a knack for drumming up beats and writing the lyrics to go along with them. Next week (Nov. 7), the grade 11 student at St. Charles College is unveiling his latest song, “Video Star” in video format on YouTube. The audio file is already available on ITunes, along with two of his previous releases. He collaborated with Toronto artist Dreams Brown for the video and song. Brandon is known as DJ Gella in music circles. He’s also recently joined forces with another Toronto artist named Rebecca Nazz – to form a group called The Futuristics. DJ Gella says his parents have been very supportive of his musical aspirations and for that he plans on giving back to his community. “I want to open a local recording studio in collaboration with my parents to make it easier for people my age to produce music.” His musical prospects have also forced Langella to explore music as a career option after high school. For now, he is focused on AAA hockey and looks forward to hearing himself on one of the local radio stations.
On Friday, October 28th, Maclean’s 2011 Universtiy Rankings hit newstands. On that same day, Kelly Nootchtai, St Benedict’s Class of 2009, visited a Native Studies class at St. Charles College to talk about the importance of making good choices and Aboriginal Education. This is significant because Kelly is on the cover of this issue. She is a third year Native Studies and Philosophy student at Laurentian University and understands the value of a good education. She talks fondly of her years in elementary school taking Ojibwe classes at St James. Kelly looked forward to continuing the language program at the secondary level but, it wasn’t until her graduating year that St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School was able to offer any Native Studies programming. Kelly talked about how lucky the students are to have Native Studies as an option and having great teachers like St. Charles College teacher Jennifer Petahtegoose. Both Kelly and Ms. Petahtegoose are members of Atikameksheng Anishinawbek (formerly Whitefish Lake First Nation near Naughton). Students listening to Kelly’s message were inspired and felt a sense of cultural pride. Ms. Petahtegoose stated “As a community member we are very proud of Kelly’s accomplishments and as an Anishinaabe educator I am always looking for positive First Nation, Metis and Inuit role models. Kelly has overcome obstacles to get where she is today and we are proud that she is one of our graduates and can share her story to inspire those coming up behind her.” After the talk, Kelly signed covers of the magazine and Ms Petahtegoose served homemade cookies and cedar tea.