100% of the students enrolled at Mamawi Atosketan are First Nations. 24% of staff at MANS is First Nations, and staff changes at MANS are rare: the average tenure of current teachers at the school is more than eight years.
Our teachers saw Eldenia’s potential early and connected her with college students in a summer work program. Eldenia has spent the past three summers getting valuable work experience with college students who bring summer programs to Reserves in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.
“I love it at Mamawi Atosketan,” says Eldenia. “I want to graduate from here!”
But that's not the end of her ambitions. After visiting the University of Alberta and NAIT with her class and the school counselor, she sees so many possibilities—possibilities she didn't know existed. Eldenia Potts has goals. She is going to university. Perhaps the biggest take-away of her time at Mamawi Atosketan is Eldenia’s growing confidence in her skills and identity as a First Nations youth with lots to offer.
“My mom says she’s really proud of what I’m doing,” says Eldenia.
Aren’t we all!
The best part about MANS for Grade 8 student Brayden Omeasoo-Steinhauer? No doubt - his "friends, the staff and the teachers.” He enjoys "being able to travel different places and share my talent and songs with people" when performing with his peers as Assistant Director of MANS' musical sign lanuage group.
"When I graduate from Grade 12," says Brayden, "I want to go to Burman University and study to become a lawyer or a teacher because I want to help people and encourage students. My family encourages me to do this, and they think it's a great idea." Brayden has vision: his long range goal is to become one of the four Chiefs on the Reserve.
"Having hope for the future gives me courage and strength."
When MANS opened its doors at the present facility, Krista Abt started Grade 1. Now, Krista's an entrepreneur who is recognized by Maskwacis as a Youth Role Model.
With an artisan's eye for beauty and an entrepreneur's vision to create something that people want, Krista's turned her traditional beading skills into a part-time business of hand-crafted contemporary jewelry and commissioned works.
Her business plan is to work in the field of aesthetics for ten years to gain experience and capital, and then to open her own business to sell her beadwork and jewellery.
"I want a good future," says Krista, "and Mamawi Atosketan really gives me that hope."
MACKENZIE ABTThe strong correlation between academic success and attendance is underscored by MANS' 95% average attendance. Mackenzie Abt managed to stay healthy and in school every single day for nine years—a trend that's becoming more common as students reap the rewards of perfect attendance.
Mackenzie's father credits MANS staff with creating a motivating atmosphere of cooperation with families. "You're somebody when you go there as a parent," he says.
Suzann Self has been at Mamawi Atosketan since its beginning. While many other opportunities beckoned, her heart is here. She's watched the staff develop long-term vision, and the school mature. As Suzann's former students become parents and choose MANS for their own children, Suzann has seen a big change in our student body.
This new generation of MANS students is aiming higher and dreaming bigger.
There's a new attitude about the value of education, a new conviction about their own potential. That's a fundamental shift.
Native Cultural Studies teacher Ramona MacKenzie helps students stay oriented in Cree culture as they learn about and relate to other modern and ancient cultures. MANS graduates say that one of the most important aspects of their education was the respect for and reinforcement of their culture.