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Piikani comes together to celebrate class of 2020 amidst global pandemic.

Tailyn Potts during the graduation parade on May. 28. Photo by Tawnya Plain Eagle

By Tawnya Plain Eagle

Piikani Nation Secondary School (PNSS) and Napi’s Playground Elementary School held a parade on May 28 for the students but also to commemorate and continue the encouragement of the. graduating class of 2020. 

“We have a lot more support than I thought,” said Tailyn Potts, who is graduating from Piikani Nation Secondary School this year. 

Feeling overwhelmed with the amount of the support that came out to celebrate their success was something that she will use as motivation to continue her education.  

For Latoya (Crow Eagle) Prairie Chicken, she hasn’t fully come to terms with the fact that she is about to complete high school. 

Latoya Crow Eagle. Photo by Tawnya Plain Eagle.

“All my struggles that I went through, I never thought I was actually going to graduate, but I did, I’m here,” she said. 

The parade included the graduates, Principle Melanie Pard, Teachers and staff from PNSS, administrative staff from the Peigan Board of Education and family of the graduates.

“It was bigger than I’d expected it to be, there was so much support and I really appreciated all of it,” Thunder Crow Shoe said. 

Thunder Crow shoe and his family after the parade on May 28. Photo by Tawnya Plain Eagle

Many onlookers held up signs and balloons, as the parade travelled throughout the townsite of Brocket. 

“This is a phenomenal group of graduates, they took on leadership capabilities personally and through-out the school,” Pard said. 

Pard said this was the best way to celebrate their accomplishments during a time this time of uncertainty. 

Although she is hoping the opportunity will arise later this month to give them a proper outdoor celebration. 

COVID-19 causes other graduates outside the community to feel the wrath of no graduation this year.

“Graduation is my moment to shine,” Natasha Big Smoke-Woitte said while picking out a grad dress prior to the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Billy Big Smoke-Woitte.

For Natasha Big Smoke-Woitte, graduate student from Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge, already picked out her grad dress and was looking forward to the day. 

For Natasha Big Smoke-Woitte, graduate student from Catholic Central High School in Lethbridge, already picked out her grad dress and was looking forward to the day. 

“We had an Instagram account to post our dresses so no one would get the same one,” she said. 

On top of that, she felt disappointed she couldn’t celebrate her last day of high school with her friends.

“I went home that Friday, thinking I was going to see everybody on Monday. It was kind of sad thinking about some people I won’t see again,”

However, Big Smoke-Woitte is a big advocate for showing that regardless of the obstacles caused by the pandemic, it is still possible to achieve your goals. 

She will be attending the University of Lethbridge in the fall to study biochemistry with hopes that one day she’ll become a pharmacist. 

“It’s a learning experiencing, that I’ll have to try.”

Later this month, Big Smoke-Woitte will have a drive through graduation where she will get to pick up her “graduation box” which includes her grad box and other gifts from her high school.

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