In recognition of Yukon Education Week 2014

I rise today on behalf of the Liberal caucus to also pay tribute to Education Week — this year’s theme, of course, being “Learning for Life”. Every day of our life we learn something new. We learn from both our experiences and from our mistakes. Everybody learns in different ways and at different rates. Education Week is an opportunity to highlight the importance of knowledge and what it plays in transforming our lives and how education helps to shape the future of our young people and therefore in turn, shaping the territory.

In Dawson, Robert Service School will be celebrating Education Week with a jazz band concert for the students today and also a student talent show on April 17. If you have ever been to Diamond Tooth Gerties for a talent show, you know where we get out talent from.

This week, I have the honour of giving a commencement speech at the Yukon School of Visual Arts’ graduating ceremony, so I would like to, in anticipation of that day, congratulate all of the 2014 SOVA grads.

Mr. Speaker, each student is unique and we must ensure that we develop that uniqueness by giving them the essential tools and the skills and 21st century technology to help them meet their full potential, and SOVA in Dawson is absolutely well-recognized in this pursuit.

As a former educator in the small community of Dawson, it was a privilege to be part of the students’ growth as they learned over the years — a privilege that those in the bigger jurisdictions do not enjoy on that personal level. I’ve seen first-hand how high school students who I have taught have become community leaders in Dawson and also community leaders in other communities outside of our boundaries. Educators do not just teach students; they also learn from them. Education Week is an excellent time to focus on the importance of education and the many opportunities available to Yukoners. Education and learning and a thirst for knowledge is not just limited to the youth, but to Yukoners of all ages.

As we pay tribute to Education Week, I want to take the opportunity to thank every single teacher and student who I have worked with in my 15-plus years as an educator in the Yukon and also for all that they have taught me and for helping me to become the person that I am today.

Mr. Speaker, education is a lifelong learning experience in partnerships with not only teachers and students, but also with parents and with industry and community. I would also like to thank the many volunteers, tutors, mentors, educational assistants, NGOs and businesses for their commitment to education and to skills training.

There are many activities and organized events throughout the month as the Minister of Education laid out for us, showcasing the educational resources and opportunities available to each and every Yukon community and I encourage Yukoners to take part.

To those who are considering a position on our school council, I would like to thank them personally for considering our students when deciding where to best volunteer their time. Our students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow and they are our future.