• FortsmithNWT

Fort Smith has a legacy of education



Thursday, February 13, 2020


Member's Statement on Education Legacy in Fort Smith

MS. MARTSELOS: Mr. Speaker, education legacy in Fort Smith has always been a topic that has been dear to my heart. When Yellowknife was named the capital of the NWT in 1967, Fort Smith was designated the education centre of the NWT. Fort Smith's education legacy is very prominent, and we are so proud to be leading the role in this field. Many of our former leaders, including Premiers, Ministers, former and current Members of Parliament, mayors, chiefs, and others have all gone through Fort Smith to advance their education. I say this because I want to remind people of the tangible value that Fort Smith education has contributed to the development of the NWT. People tend to forget that Fort Smith has been the focal point for education for many years in this territory.

Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the Auditor General's Report on Early Childhood to Grade 12 Education in the Northwest Territories, which was tabled last week. While there were a number of troubling aspects identified in that report, I am confident that the gaps identified will be addressed by the members of the district education authority, the local education authority, and by senior management and staff in the community of Fort Smith. In order to address the education gaps in this report, proper funding must be allocated to the local and district education authorities.

In addition, Mr. Speaker, I want to highlight the important work that is done at the level of the district education authority and all staff at our elementary and high schools in Fort Smith. Every single person who works within these institutions contributes in some way to the development of our children, of our future citizens and leaders. Whether it's people at the janitorial level or at the superintendent level, they all play a role in our children's development, and I want to thank them for their service, including all teachers from junior kindergarten to grade 12. Thank you for introducing Aboriginal languages and cultural-based programming with best practices to enhance the education system at all levels in Fort Smith.

Moreover, Mr. Speaker, I want to acknowledge and appreciate the strong academic background that all the staff at Aurora College Thebacha campus hold. We have a very well-educated group of instructors who teach in all areas at our campus, and I would like to thank them for choosing Fort Smith as their preferred venue to teach. I want them to know that our community values their knowledge, and I certainly hope that the education system as a whole for the NWT will also value their knowledge.

As Aurora College transfers into a polytech university, it is vital that we recognize the strong academic background of the staff at Aurora College Thebacha campus. Our academics and staff at Aurora College must be supported and celebrated. [Microphone turned off]

---Unanimous consent granted

MS. MARTSELOS:Mr. Speaker, the staff must have a say in the development of the future transformation of the polytechnic university. Their experience, hard work, and dedication to post-secondary education must be recognized.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I want to say that, going forward into this 19th Assembly, my goal is to see the entire board of Aurora College be reinstated and to be at arm's length from the Government of the Northwest Territories. I want to see a northern-based polytech university with the highest of national standards be developed. Yes, the headquarters should remain in Fort Smith. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER:Thank you, Member for Thebacha. Members' statements. Member for Nunakput.

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