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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Iohahi:io Programs Closing Ceremonies
by Derrick Lafrance - Indian Time
Social Service Worker Graduates. (L-R) Row 1: Taylen Sunday, Corina Oakes, Javan Cook, Shyla Oakes, Keisha Mitchell, Joni Garrow and Andi Phillips. Row 2: Ivy Oakes, Lauren Swamp, Tesha Sunday, Jhazmayn Diaz-Jacobs, Hannah Lafrance, Jodi Jackson, Marlene Bero, Trish Garrow, Arisawe Lazore, Katie Cook and Ann Marie Laughing. Missing: Carey Niio Perkins.

Students that had put in two years of hard work were recognized last week and those who supported them were honored as well.

Iohahi:io Adult Education Social Services and Business programs held their closing ceremonies last week. Master of Ceremonies Margaret Lafrance, Acting Program Manager, explained this was not an official graduation event, as that will be held in June at the St. Lawrence College campus in Cornwall. But it was to recognize students and families who worked together to get the student to school on time and prepared.

"Iohahi:io takes pride in celebrating students' achievements and recognizing family support and contributions to their success by hosting their own closing ceremony here in the community. So it's our own way of offering our appreciation to the families that helped and support the students that were able to make it to their graduation," said Margaret Lafrance.

Instructor Cheryl Walker of the Social Service Program said getting that diploma is one achievement, but there are now other benefits.

"We often talked about the idea of keeping an eye on the prize. For some of you there are all kinds of different things that become prizes. Now you get to sit and read to your little ones, or actually getting to watch a TV show and not think about what kind of assignment is due tomorrow," said Walker.

Victoria Workman of St. Lawrence College talked about Akwesasne's programs participation with her institution.

"For many years we've enjoyed this wonderful community of togetherness and learning and look forward to it for many many more years to come. We value this partnership and look forward to students in the future," said Workman.

Marlene Bero of the Social Service Worker program received the Elizabeth Lazore Memorial award. Presenting is Margaret Lafrance, Acting Program Manager.

This year's program at Iohahi:io was put together with dedicated people from the school and Akwesasne community and these were Donna Jocko, Sheila Lafrance-Post-Secondary coordinator, Sharon Philips-Kitchen, Ron Garrow-Bus Driver, Philip Mitchell-Maintenance, Shannon Hall-Student Success Coordinator, Tim Thompson from Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Human Resources, Bob Firth-Technician, Rosie David, Kaitlyn MacDonald and Cierra Jacobs who were connected with the program through the Akwesasne Area Management Board.

Teachers from both programs were acknowledged and thanked for their dedication in bringing out the best of the students in finishing their courses.

Margaret Lafrance explained one component that Iohahi:io has that the main St. Lawrence program doesn't have is field placement, and the offices that accepted the workers were acknowledged. Mohawk Council Departments as well as the Native North American Travelling College, district schools, Johnson O'Malley Program and Baldwin House.

"Every year they are always willing to participate in accepting students," said Lafrance.

Sue Derouchie of the Business program said it was a fun two years and she told of all the areas of study her students went through and she hoped in the future they will return to the Adult Education facility to help others.

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