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School offers kids a glimpse past high school
For the third straight year Wilfrid Laurier University officials hosted an event combining a bit of lacrosse with some post-secondary school awareness.
The third annual High School Friendship Lacrosse Tournament was staged at the university’s Waterloo campus on recently.
About 70 Aboriginal teenagers, from five high schools in Brantford, took part in the day. Not all of the participants though were in their final year of high school. That’s because the program was open to all Aboriginal high school students from Brantford, regardless of their grade.
The event moniker, however, is somewhat misleading. A tournament, featuring games in which scores were actually kept, was not held.
Instead, the day did include a lacrosse skills training session. Among those helping out was Johnny Powless, a current pro star with the Rochester Knighthawks of the National Lacrosse League. Powless, who was chosen as the NLL’s rookie of the year and helped the Knighthawks capture the league championship this past season, is a previous participant of the day himself.
A former NLL star, Cam Bomberry, also helped out with this year’s training session.
Others that lent a hand were Lynn Orth, the head coach of the Laurier women’s lacrosse program, as well as some players from the Laurier men’s team.
Those that took part in the day were also able to tour the campus and meet members of Laurier’s Aboriginal Student Association.
“The whole goal of the day is to get them thinking of post-secondary school,” Kandice Baptiste, Laurier’s Aboriginal Students Recruitment and Retention Officer, said of the high school attendees.
All of those that took part in the day received a welcome bag, which included a guidebook detailing all of the programs and activities offered at Laurier. A brochure on the university’s Aboriginal student association was also handed out to all.
Various draw prizes (water bottles and T-shirts) were also presented to some recipients.
Though she obviously hopes some of the Aboriginal teens who took part in the day will eventually enrol at Laurier, Baptiste said that this was not the main purpose of the event - to recruit potential students for the university.
“I want the students to find the best fit for themselves,” she said. “It’s all about further education. It’s not all about coming to Laurier.”
Baptiste said there was a fairly even split among male and female participants. And not all of them are lacrosse players.
“Anybody is welcome, whether they play lacrosse or not,” she said. “You don’t have to be a lacrosse player to take part. The skills and drills we do are not super complicated.”
The day was open to high school students from Six Nations as well as the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. Students from these two areas all attend one of five high schools in Brantford.
In order to take part in the day they had to first register with their guidance counsellors at their high school.
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