On Monday July 24th, numerous graduates from the CHU 6 community celebrated a milestone achievement together with dinner and ceremony at the Days Inn Hotel & Conference Centre. The formal dinner was attended by immaculately dressed teens with their thoughts on the forthcoming journey towards post-secondary scholarship. The idea for the event came from CHU 6's own youth, who wanted to celebrate each others achievements in a formal occasion.
"Youth are usually the focus of so many negative stories and not praised for the good things that they do, so we wanted to have people from the community come together to honour the youth that are being positive" remarked the events youth organizer, Chynika Wright. Community leaders from the elderly to youth themselves spoke to the graduates about the importance of marking such an occasion; overcoming barriers and staying focused on their future goals can be quite the difficult task. Summer staff and fellow graduate Chynika Wright put together the event with the help of CHU 6 Recreation Program Coordinator Mike Morgan, program staff Kari Aiken, and CHU 6 Manager Jacqueline Daley.
Early in the evening, Chynika addressed the audience with these reflective, yet poignant words.
"When I mention the word youth and our society what comes to your mind? Do you picture young achievers who are bound to succeed in their life? Do you imagine young beings of all colours and creeds coming together and helping out each other in all ways possible? Or do you, like many do but do not admit, see violence, drugs, and troubled youth? Sadly, the last option is what many people picture when the words youth and our society come to mind. Without a doubt our society is filled with young achievers and youth who help out their community and others and unfortunately they get caught up into negative stereotypes and assumptions and are looked upon as bad people who will not succeed. Being here today makes me feel proud to say that we can indeed succeed and become what we want to in life. Therefore, all of you here tonight who have graduated are beginning to break away from that stereotype and show the world that we can do anything and everything we want, and do it well!
You are all inspirations to society, showing young people that you do not have to get caught up in drugs and violence because we all know very well that that those things take you no where. By successfully graduating you have shown to your community that being smart educationally wise can get you farther and give you more opportunities than being smart street wise. You have left the teaching to your teachers, not by gang leaders and bad influences and for this I salute you! These are decisions that many of us face and by seeing you all here today shows that you made the right choice."
Organizers hope to make the gala ceremony an annual event with the next graduating class of students at the helm of the planning process.