Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
'This country gave my family the opportunities we needed, without making us forget our heritage'
Kashmere Rogelle doesn't remember much about the Philippines, the country where she was born. The 23-year-old immigrated to Canada with her parents and three sisters when she was only two years old. Most of her memories come from old pictures or stories her parents have shared with her.
Still, the 23-year-old feels a sense of belonging to the country she left more than 20 years ago.
"We still have many values from there that we respect and we still consider the Philippines to be a home to us. It's a part of our culture just as much as being a Canadian is part of our culture," said Rogelle.
But now, Rogelle says she has a newly restored Canadian identity. She attributes this to her new Canadian citizenship she and the rest of her family obtained last January.
"When we took our oaths at the Via Rail station it was a really proud moment. We all got to sing O Canada together. We were all crying. Even though we had been in Canada for a long time and we were always Canadians in our hearts, this just made it official," said Rogelle.
Rogelle also celebrated another milestone this year. She just graduated with her bachelor of education from the University of Winnipeg. She has already secured a full-time teaching job at Maples Collegiate.
"If we didn't come to Canada, I don't think I'd be where I am now, teaching at Maples and having been able to get an education. This country gave my family the opportunities we needed, without making us forget our heritage. That's been very important to us."
Rogelle and the rest of her family will be celebrating Canada Day as official Canadians this year. Rogelle says they plan to watch the fireworks at The Forks and have a barbecue.
"Being Canadian isn't just about one identity or liking hockey or maple syrup or all of the (stereotypical) things. It's about coming together and sharing all our ideas and all our values and we respect each other. Canada is not perfect, but it's my home and I am a part of it now and forever."
-- Katherine Dow
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 1, 2012 J5
(1 of 23 articles for this week)