Students Take the Controls at National Indigenous Peoples Day Ceremonies at Kitsumkalum

For the second straight year, National Aboriginal Day celebrations were held at a First Nations-run school at Kitsumkalum -- but this time, the students took the lead in organizing it.

The eight high school students in the language and culture program at 'Na Aksa Gyilak'yoo School at Kitsumkalum took on the task of organizing the traditional Tsimshian feast to celebrate  what is now known as National Indigenous Peoples Day -- the name change announced Wednesday morning by the Prime Minister.

Grade 12 student Ocean-Lynn Georgelin [pictured at right] was the co-MC of the event, along with Taylor Wesley, and she said it was quite a task putting it all together.

"We had to organize the food with the help of Darrel Bryant and we had to book the hall, and call all the entertainment that's coming in today, and we actually contacted Arlene Roberts to bring the Indian Residential School Survivors Society together so we could honour them and everything that they've gone through," she explained.

"Everything that is done here is done through our students, as you can see when you are in there; you don't see me running around doing all the work, I'm there just to guide them," said the school's Lawrence Derrick, and Principal Biilts'ik Colleen Austin says they did a very good job in handling the responsibility.

"We always look for ways to assess the learning that the students have gained in our classrooms, and this is an example of assessment -- we are looking for students who can actually expedite the plan that they put together and so far, they're all getting very high marks," she said.

UNBC Professor Doctor Bruce Bidgood says it shows what young people are capable of.

"It makes you realize the potential of our youth -- I was joking that sometimes you can't get them off the couch, and then you look at the event today and the entire event has been organized by high school students -- so I think sometimes we don't really appreciate how much potential exists within our youth and within our First Nations youth in particular."