A student shares her experience of leaving home for the first time
Rachel Bluecoat hugs her mother goodbye before she boards a flight to begin her high school journey. Rachel will fly out for the first time to attend high school in Sioux Lookout, ON.
Fort Severn is a small and remote town in northern Ontario. So, that means no real high school, except for Keewaytinook Internet High School (KiHS). While KiHS offers courses from Grade 9 to 12, there is the option after Grade 9 to leave the community to attend high school.
In Fort Severn all the KIHS students work in one classroom, using a school laptop/computer to do their courses online. Our council has decided that students have to go to KIHS for Grade 9 before flying out to study to help prepare them for the big change.
If a student does choose to leave home, he or she will go to another city, like Thunder Bay or Sioux Lookout, and be gone for the whole semester. They will get to come home for the December break before returning for second semester.
This year, 14 students, including myself, have chosen to leave the community.
For Christa Koostachin, who is flying out for the first time, “It’s an opportunity to go out there for the experience.”
It is also my first time leaving home. I am excited and sad at the same time. I’m excited to be going to a real school, but sad to be leaving home for such a long time.
Like Christa, I am leaving for the experience of getting to attend a real school. In Fort Severn our school was closed and burned almost 10 years ago because of mold. Since then we have been studying in portables.
Chad Bluecoat has been out to attend high school, but has chosen to remain home to attend KIHS this year. When asked why, Chad answered, “I missed my family. I wanted to go hunting. The urban life wasn’t for me. I had to get back to my roots.”
Rachel Bluecoat is 15 years old. She has just started Grade 10, her first year at Queen Elizabeth High School in Sioux Lookout. This is her first published article.
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