Gameti, N.W.T., celebrated its first high school graduation this week as eight students finished Grade 12 in the community.

In the past, students went to Behchoko to finish high school but two years ago with extra government support Jean Wetrade school expanded to offer grades 11 and 12. 

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Patricia Wedawin is one of the first eight students to graduate from Grade 12 in Gameti, N.W.T. Previously, students from the community had to go to Behchoko to finish high school. (CBC)

"It meant all the difference, the difference between the kids falling through the cracks and doing something with their lives," said principal Brendan Mulcahy.

Mulcahy said with a lack of supervision in Behchoko, many students fell into drugs and alcohol and dropped out.

Patricia Wedawin said her graduation in her home community was "overwhelming."

"All my family was there," she said. "I can't really explain it, it's such a rush."

Wedawin said she considers herself lucky.

"I think I wouldn't have made it, if I went to Behchoko."

Wedawin's older sister never got the choice.

"She said it was a bit hard without our parents by her side, every step of the way."

With high school in the rearview mirror, Wedawin is off to college in Grande Prairie, Alta., this fall.

Meanwhile, last week people in Colville Lake, N.W.T., also celebrated their first two high school graduates to finish their education at home with a full graduation ceremony that most of the community attended.