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Athabasca student Mason Griffiths presented with Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award

Mason Griffiths with the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta (Photo courtesy Shawna Flett)Mason Griffiths with the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta (Photo courtesy Shawna Flett)

Mason Griffiths, a Grade 5 student at Landing Trail Intermediate School (LTIS) in Athabasca, was one of 12 students from across Alberta presented with an Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Award at a ceremony at Government House in Edmonton on Saturday, May 11.

The Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Awards, sponsored by the Alberta School Boards Association, recognize First Nations, Métis and Inuit students who model strength and commitment in the pursuit of their personal education path; and embrace their own gifts, strengths and potential while celebrating the ways of their people. Students are nominated by members of their education communities, based on exemplary leadership, courage and commitment to their cultures and educational paths.

Mason is an accomplished and award-winning Métis jigger, who has placed first at several competitions in Alberta and Saskatchewan over the past two years. He has also been invited to perform at several significant events including the opening of the new Edwin Parr Composite School in Athabasca; at Edmonton City Hall for the Métis Nation of Alberta proclamation ceremony; and at the Legislature Building for the Louis Riel Commemorative Ceremony.

“Mason is a special boy, a bright light who is kind, caring, healthy and driven to follow his passion of jigging,” LTIS Assistant Principal Shona Hunter wrote in Mason’s nomination letter. “Mason embraces his cultural identity through his jigging and expresses the beauty of his culture through his jigging. When watching Mason jig, it is clear that he loves it and is so fulfilled! Mason is empowering to watch jig and is a genuinely hard-working and confident boy.”

The Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Awards were presented by the Honourable Lois E. Mitchell, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta; accompanied by the Honourable Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education, and the Honourable Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations.

Ten other Aspen View students nominated for the Honouring Spirit: Indigenous Student Awards received certificates of honourable mention, including:

  • Ezekial Bigstone, Landing Trail Intermediate School
  • Trissana Bird-White, Vilna School
  • Athena Jean Cardinal, Vilna School
  • Mikayla Cardinal, Vilna Off-Campus Achievement Academy
  • Darian Chalifoux, Landing Trail Intermediate School
  • Christina Yannashay Omeasoo, Vilna School
  • Kahkako Jacob Shirt, Vilna School
  • Gregory George Eddie Ward, Vilna School
  • Cloey Kenndra Waskahat, Vilna School
  • Shalayah Whiskeyjack, Vilna School