M’CHIGEENG—Things were bustling at the Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute and M’Chigeeng First Nation 2018 Career Fair this past week as hundreds of students from across the Island took the opportunity to learn more about the careers that are available to them.
Coordinator Brian Bisson greeted the students, resource people, businesses and educators who had travelled far and wide to attend. “Special thanks to the First Nations Post-Secondary info program veterans (aka the Travelling Wilberries),” he said. “Welcome to all the students from across the Island and North Shore that have come today seeking guidance and wisdom.”
Mr. Bisson noted that education is the key to a successful career. “Don’t make high school a career unless you are teaching or counselling,” he laughed, adding “high school should be completed in four years.” Mr. Bisson admonished the students to “pay attention to the program requirements when thinking of your post-secondary programs of fields. Choose your secondary school courses wisely, don’t choose because they are easier. Hopefully today will get you seriously thinking and contemplating about your life after secondary school.”
KTEI elder Josh Eshkawkogan performed a smudging ceremony and delivered an invocation on behalf of the students.
Each student was provided with a ‘passport’ and evaluation sheet. Mr. Bisson reminded students that their passports needed to have signatures from at least eight presenters and their evaluation sheets had to be filled out in order to qualify for prizes that included an iPad, 10 gift cards and an assortment of other draws.
The career fair saw a number of workshops, including the Canadian Forces, Skills Ontario, Cementation Canada, Manitoulin Dental, Manitoulin Transport and Anishnabek Fisheries.
Guest speaker Grace Debassige-Peltier, B.A., M.C., MSW, RSW, M’Chigeeng band member, KTEI alum, entrepreneur, M’Chigeeng council member, newlywed and owner of Moonlight Consulting was the guest speaker for the event.
Ms. Debassige-Peltier outlined her educational journey for the students, noting that “your educational journey will be different than mine, it will be your own.”
She stressed the importance of ensuring that students achieve high marks in order to gain entry into their program of choice and that sometimes, even if life gets in the way, perseverance is the key to success.
At college and university, other challenges awaited her. “You read your textbooks on your own, you attend classes on your own,” she said. Self discipline plays a major roll in post-secondary success.
Ms. Debassige-Peltier noted that by sticking to her goal she has now achieved all of the qualifications she needs to operate her business in the Province of Ontario. “As the owner of my own business I don’t work nine to five, five days a week,” she said. “I work every weekend, but I get to choose my own hours.” She advised students to explore and to take on different things to learn about what moves them. “My first job was at a takeout,” she said. “I struggled a long time before I decided that it just wasn’t something I can do.”
“You want to know what to study,” she said. “Don’t take something just because it looks easy.”
Being happy is also important. “Being happy is what is going to make your life more enjoyable,” she said.
Finally, Ms. Debassige-Peltier spoke of her mantra. A phrase she uses in her head each morning to help bring her to her goals. “Highest possible outcome. It will change the energy of your life.”