The University of Winnipeg has many reasons to celebrate at its fall convocation.
One reason is that this is the 100th such fall convocation. Another is the ever-growing number of Aboriginal graduates from the U of W.
Just over 10 years ago, the U of W teamed up with the Seven Oaks and Winnipeg school divisions to develop the very successful Community-Based Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (CATEP).
Canada’s Aboriginal population is the youngest and the fastest growing community. It has long been recognized that Aboriginal teachers are under-represented in classrooms.
CATEP provides a designated university stream that will successfully develop new Aboriginal teachers.
To be accepted to the CATEP program, candidates must pass a series of interviews and tests. They must, at a minimum, be high school graduates and have the potential to complete university education successfully.
Students accepted into the program work full-time as education assistants in either the Seven Oaks or Winnipeg school divisions. On evenings and weekends they attend university classes.
This integrated study program takes an average of over six years to complete. Students graduate with both the bachelor of education and bachelor of arts degrees. Their teaching majors will be English with an Aboriginal perspective.
This fall convocation will see seven graduates from the University of Winnipeg CATEP initiative: Kimberley Angus, Tara Ewanchuk, Lee Pollok, Arielle Garand, Sandra McGlynn, Pamela Boen and Janelle Prairie.
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society recently held a pre-convocation reception for CATEP graduates.
Phil Baker from the U of W said "these students were outstanding, they all graduated with a GPA of over 3.5."
Brian O’Leary, superintendent of the Seven Oaks School Division and Suzan Heynyk, chairperson of the Winnipeg School Division presented plaques and gifts to the graduates.
"CATEP is a dream come through, it allowed me to become a teacher. Working while going to school was the only way I could have pursued my teacher training," graduate Tara Ewanchuk said.