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Ceremony honours high school grads in Eden Valley

A graduation ceremony was held at Chief Jacob Bearspaw Memorial School on June 20

A ceremony last week paid fitting tribute to the Chief Jacob Bearspaw Memorial School Class of 2024, and to the friends and family that supported the graduates along the way.

Three students were given high school diplomas during a graduation ceremony and banquet at the school in Eden Valley on June 20. 

Grads Tason Letfhand and Recien Beaver, of Bearspaw Nation, and Luna Albarg of Ktunaxa Nation in B.C. were honoured during the event. 

During an emotional speech, Lefthand said his parents are the most significant influence in his life. 

“Thank you to my family for being here and encouraging me through my school years to not hold back on my dreams,” Lefthand said. 

Through his parents, he was taught that “perseverance pays off, integrity matters and love is the greatest gift we share,” he said

Beaver, class valedictorian, thanked teachers and staff, as well as his parents for pushing him. 

“I’d also like to thank my classmates for enduring all this with me,” Beaver said. 

He offered advice to friends that are graduating next year and said push yourself, work hard and respect each other. 

Albarg began attending the school more recently and said it was an honour to be part of the community. 

She received a Governor General’s Academic Medal this year for graduating with the highest academic average. 

“Thank you to everyone for making it feel like home,” she said.

Principal Robbie Gordon said he watched Beaver and Lefthand grow up over the years.

“I know that they’re both going to go on to do wonderful things,” Gordon said. 

He said Albarg made a great addition when she came to the school two years ago.

“She came in with a worldview, with an outside view, but she quickly embraced the Stoney values, the Stoney way, and she became a part of our school, a part of our family and a part of our community."

Two Bearspaw Nation councillors, Dacster Amos and Pierre Lefthand, spoke during the event. 

Lefthand said the graduates were supported by parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. 

“Grandparents kind of raise their children's children,” Lefthand said. “That’s a big part of our culture.

“We all need to work together to make one achieve whatever they’re going for." 

A drumming group called Spotted Rock drummed and sang during the ceremony, and Gordon thanked them for their teachings and songs.

"Life is about learning, and I was well taught today by Spotted Rock on the drum and the powerful message that it brings,” he said. 

Robert Korotyszyn

About the Author: Robert Korotyszyn

Robert Korotyszyn covers Okotoks and Foothills County news for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact [email protected]
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