Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) is pleased to announce that Veresen Midstream will present a $10,000 cheque in support of the Cree Language Program at Hythe Regional School (HRS) at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. The company has a significant presence in the community and owns a gas plant west of Hythe, operated by Pembina Pipelines.
The connection was initiated last August when Barb Belcourt (pictured), First Nations, Métis, Inuit (FNMI) Liaison Worker and Cree Instructor at the school, shared her passion for the Cree Language Program during a conversation with Leanne Chartrand, Community Affairs Advisor with Veresen Midstream.
Ms. Belcourt said she was thrilled to receive a call from Ms. Chartrand in April, asking how they could support the program.
"During our second meeting, I was able to provide more in-depth information about the program, including the number of students enroled in our Cree Language Program and where their support could be most helpful."
The Cree Language Program qualifies as a second language option and is open to Grades 4-9 students at HRS.
In May, Ms. Chartrand and representatives from Pembina Pipelines toured the school and Cree classroom. After a follow-up meeting with Ms. Chartrand to review Cree resource catalogues and discuss the school's needs, Ms. Belcourt says she could barely contain her excitement when she received an email informing her of Veresen Midstream's offer of support for the program.
"Barb is an amazing person and her passion is evident," says Ms. Chartrand. "What really captured my attention is the fact that she is bringing the Cree language and elements of the culture to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Veresen Midstream strongly believes in investing in the communities where we work, live and recreate."
When considering local community investment opportunities, Ms. Chartrand adds that Veresen Midstream focuses on three community investment pillars: Education and Environment, Health and Safety, and Culture and Recreation.
"The program at HRS focuses on education, children and the traditional Cree teachings of respecting the environment – all of which aligns well with our pillars," she adds. "HRS is doing a wonderful thing for students, and we are excited to offer our support."
Ms. Belcourt says the funds will be directed toward Cree resources, visuals, cultural craft supplies and books, and other enhancements to the program.
"Hythe Regional School is honoured to receive this donation," adds Ms. Belcourt. "On behalf of the staff and students, I am extremely grateful to Veresen Midstream for supporting the traditional language of this region. Their gift will have a lasting impact on our youth who will share their learning with future generations."