Indigenous high school students take case for new Thunder Bay school, living centre to Ottawa

A group of students from Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay, Ont. brought their request for a new school and living centre directly to Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott on Monday at a meeting in Ottawa.
Students and staff from Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay met with Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott, as well as several Canadian senators on Monday. (Greg Chomut)

A group of students from Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School in Thunder Bay, Ont., brought their request for a new school and living centre directly to Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott on Monday at a meeting in Ottawa.

"I wanted to tell her that the students of DFC should deserve a better living environment besides staying at boarding homes and having to travel across the city, because that can be really dangerous," said Kaiden Angeconeb, a Grade 11 student at the Indigenous high school, which houses students from northern First Nations who travel to Thunder Bay to study. 

The group of ten students also brought up concerns about the state of their aging school. The building is "falling apart," Angeconeb said. 

It's not the first time students at the school have made their case for a new school and residence, but the message was well received by Minister Philpott, as well as Senators Kim Pate, Marilou McPhedran and Mohamed-Iqbal Ravalia, who also attended the meeting and offered words of support, he said.

"As I was there, I started to get emotional just seeing the support," Angeconeb said. 

"They were onboard. They wanted to get behind it as fast as they could," he said. "All they needed was to see the plan ... that is in the works." 

A feasibility study for the new school is currently underway and is expected to be completed in the spring.