Two candidates are in the running for the Northern Lights School Division subdivision one.
Incumbent Emilien Janvier and newcomer Bernice Park Campbell are both vying for the position. Subdivision one includes the communities of La Loche and Bear Creek.
Northern Lights School Division has 20 schools located in 17 communities in the northern half of the province.
For Janvier, his work is not done, he said, with some projects started that he would like to see to the end. Subdivision one will be getting a new school to replace Ducharme Elementary School in La Loche, he said, which has taken talks with the government representatives for years before a new school had been confirmed.
Looking ahead to the new term, Janvier would like to see improvements to education in La Loche.
“There’s been a lot of problems over the years so instead of talking about it, you better do something about it. That is one of the reasons I’m still running.”
With the availability of teachers being a major issue in northern schools, Janvier said was excited to talk about the new hires from the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) offered through the Gabriel Dumont Institute. This took some work, he said, with the board taking the initiative and doing some intensive recruitment.
Janvier spent 25 years in Moose Jaw working for the provincial government before returning to La Loche. As an avid volunteer, Janvier helped start the Friendship Centre in Moose Jaw and said he always likes to involve himself in his community.
As a child, Janvier went to boarding school in Île-à-la-Crosse and didn’t see his parents for 10 months out of the year. This is one of the reasons he is passionate about ensuring a good education for children in northern communities.
“Education is important. That's your lifeline to tomorrow. Only by education, you can advance in life.”
After working at Decharme Elementary School for 26 years, Park Campbell is now happily retired but is looking for her next adventure. That is why she is running for the trustee of subdivision one. She had been thinking about it before she retired, she said, and her concern remains making education stronger for people living in Northern communities.
Park Campbell would like to see more post-secondary education available for recent graduates in northern communities. Those students who want a post-secondary education are left moving south, she said, but it is a different world. For that to happen, Park Campbell would like to see people work together, including Northland College.
Park Campbell was born and raised in La Loche, and was proud to work towards her GED and Early Childhood Education certificate later in life. She has been working hard for her students and her community and was on the town council back in 2012. Education continues to be her passion, she said.
Being a Dene woman, Park Campbell said she was brought up to never lose her language or her culture. There are two Dene language classes available in La Loche, she said, but there could be more.
Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist