First Nation communities behind schools’ success



First Nation communities behind schools’ success



By John Balogh, Times Colonist May 15, 2012

Re: “Aboriginal students find success in Sooke,” May 13.

I was so happy to read the story about the high graduation rates for First Nations children in the Sooke school district. I commend the great work of Kathleen King-Hunt and her colleagues.

One important element missing from the story is that the true driving force for better graduation rates comes from the First Nations communities themselves, and the dedication of the children in those communities. I know that Chief Gordon Planes and the Tsouke community, for instance, have worked tirelessly to raise their graduation rates as part of a wholistic community plan which has also seen the community become leaders in solar energy and sustainable food production, among many community initiatives.

I would have loved to see an interview with Planes or at least an acknowledgement of his community’s leadership on the education front. Without that voice, there may be a misconception that change within First Nations communities is driven from the outside rather than the reality that I’ve observed, which is communities working hard to bring outside institutions, such as school districts, onside to partner with them to achieve success.

Congratulations to the First Nations communities around Sooke, the First Nations students and the Sooke school district for this great achievement.

John Balogh


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