The third edition of the Memegwashi Awards, hosted by the Val d’Or Native Friendship Centre, was yet again a success. On June 21, National Aboriginal Day, 149 Native students of all ages were honoured before 400 people at the Telebec Theatre.

Primary, secondary, college and university students from the MRC de la Vallee-de-l’Or were recognized for their personal qualities as well as their academic achievements. Preschoolers performed a traditional dance and the 10-to-13 age group staged a carefully choreographed hip-hop dance along with lively songs. These students put their time and effort in these performances for several weeks.

A few individuals who had overcome hardships in the past passed on their

“encouragement and perseverance” for future finishing classes.

The team at the Friendship Centre said they were very proud of the gala’s outcome and success. “I am extremely touched when I see children who were often shy and withdrawn before starting the Aboriginal Head Start Program, out on stage performing in front of hundreds of people,” said Friendship Centre Executive Director Edith Cloutier. “We created the opportunity of lighting a flame made out of pride and generated an exceptional progress in each, and tremendous strength for the community. This is an event in the spirit of the National Aboriginal Day.”

Overall, this success could not have happened without the support of institutions and communities provided throughout this program. The Friendship Centre is now looking forward to a fourth edition of the Memegwashi Awards.