Congratulations to the grads

By: Christine Melnick, MLA for Riel

As published in The Lance

July 3, 2013

I know what so many of our children out there are thinking: summer at last! Congratulations to every student out there on completing yet another successful school year.

Special congrats to all the grads! You have worked hard at school for most of your lives, so it must feel good to finally have that high school diploma in hand.

In our constituency, there are three high schools to serve the community: Dakota Collegiate, Collège Jeanne-Sauvé, and Glenlawn Collegiate. I had the opportunity to meet students at their graduation ceremonies and present them with scholarships. It is always such an honour to meet and encourage our young people.

They care about their communities and want to make a positive difference in the world. There is nothing more inspiring than meeting these upbeat and driven young people! They have so much potential and won’t stop until their dreams are realized.

Graduates don’t achieve success in isolation. Thank you to all of the educational and support staff who have helped mold these young people into the bright young stars they are today. You have my full respect and admiration. Finally, congratulations to all of the parents and caregivers whose support greatly contributed to the success of each and every student.

Manitoba students and education staff are exceptional. I am proud that in 2012, our graduation rate increased to over 84%. That is more than 18% higher than in 2002! Because education is a top priority for Manitobans, our government has continually funded education at or above the rate of economic growth for 14 years in a row. We’ve also introduced parent-friendly report cards and made a commitment to reduce class sizes from Kindergarten to Grade 3 to a maximum of 20 students. This is a benefit for families since individualized attention in the early years helps educators detect potential challenges facing children sooner rather than later.

On behalf of the constituency, I enjoy donating books to area elementary schools during their farewell celebrations every year. These wonderful schools are Minnetonka, Dr. D. W. Penner, École Marie-Anne Gaboury, École St. Germain, Darwin, George McDowell, and Hastings.

For students aged 16 years or older who are still hoping to get summer employment, I encourage you to check out STEP Services. Last year, this placement program provided more than 1,700 students with full — and part-time jobs with government agencies, departments, and Crown corporations! Please see the program website, www.gov.mb.ca/cyo/studentjobs/, for more details. There is no application deadline, so those of you still looking are not too late!

To share your ideas and concerns with me, please contact my office at 204-253-5162 or email me at Christine.Melnick@yourmanitoba.ca.