Perseverance results in Youth Achievement Award for Pantherbone.
Overcoming obstacles in her struggle to succeed, Caitlyn Pantherbone was recently recognized for her educational and personal achievements with the 2009 Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award in Calgary.
Nominated by her father, and supported by her teachers from the Bull Head Adult Education Centre on the Tsuu T'ina reserve, Pantherbone proudly accepted her award and scholarship, and spoke about her struggles and resilience to come to this new path in her life. "For a time I thought about giving up. I had many personal struggles and believed that I would not be smart enough to finish my education. Now I am finished, and am starting a new journey--to work in the Aboriginal media industry. It's a dream come true for me."
Pantherbone's father, Adrian Goulet, was overwhelmed with pride at the success and perseverance of his daughter. "For a long time I wasn't sure that this would happen for Caitlyn. We had many a talk, her and I--most of the time she needed to know that she had the skill and talent to succeed--that she was worthy of this success. Now she will be a role model to her friends and siblings that after much hard work and believing in herself, that this can be a reality for them also."
Although soft spoken both in words and spirit, Pantherbone has overcome great odds, while staying to her educational path and at the same time avoiding the numerous social pressures many youth struggle with. As a positive role model for Aboriginal youth, Pantherbone was credited for not only encouraging others to continue to strive for their educational goals, but to embrace their Aboriginal culture by participating in cross-cultural activities involving Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
Now looking to the future, Pantherbone will be attending Capilano University in North Vancouver in the fall of 2009 to pursue her dream of working in the Aboriginal film industry.
The Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award was initiated in 1992, with Bobbie Jo Turning Robe as the first recipient. Awarded annually by the Crowchild family, the committee and the City of Calgary, the award recognizes Aboriginal youth who demonstrate leadership in the community and among their peer group; display a strong desire and commitment to achieve educational goals; support and encourage others to continue in their academic endeavours; and encourage and participate in cross-cultural activities involving Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.
The award is open to all Aboriginal youth, including status, non-status and Metis, between the ages of 14-24, who are attending junior or senior high school or a post-secondary facility. As well, nominees must be living within Calgary city limits or attending a Calgary school.
BY SHARON GOULET