Eska­soni stu­dent wins na­tional es­say con­test

Ber­tram Bernard con­tin­ues Al­li­son M. Bernard Me­mo­rial High’s win­ning tra­di­tion

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS - I’m re­ally hon­oured. It is an ex­cit­ing and a great feel­ing. Ber­tram Bernard, win­ner of na­tional es­say con­test gm­c­neil@cb­post.com BY GREG MCNEIL

ESKA­SONI — Thoughts on his com­mu­nity and how he could im­prove it have net­ted Ber­tram Bernard top marks in a na­tional es­say con­test.

Spon­sored by the Aboriginal Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada, the con­test had stu­dents iden­tify suc­cesses in their com­mu­nity and asked them how they would ex­pand on them, if they were in a lead­er­ship po­si­tion.

“I’m re­ally hon­oured. It is an ex­cit­ing and a great feel­ing,” said the Grade 12 stu­dent at Al­li­son M. Bernard Me­mo­rial High, who con­sulted fam­ily and friends in writ­ing his win­ning en­try.

“My dad is a coun­cil­lor. I was plan­ning on be­ing one, but I don’t know yet. I got some in­for­ma­tion from him and other peo­ple around the com­mu­nity.”

In the band of­fice, his mother An­nette and fam­ily friend Ger­ard Francis were also a wealth of in­for­ma­tion, he said.

The com­pe­ti­tion was open to First Na­tion’s high school stu­dents in­ter­ested in the fields of busi­ness and ac­count­ing.

In his es­say Bernard listed com­mu­nity suc­cesses, such as Eska­soni’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem and the ren­o­va­tion of the Dan K. Stevens Arena.

Suc­cesses listed also in­cluded the Goat Is­land project, which in­cludes a walk­ing trail, and an apart­ment build­ing he be­lieves can help meet hous­ing needs once com­pleted.

Bernard also wrote about us­ing the knowl­edge and skills of the com­mu­nity el­ders. And he noted the op­por­tu­ni­ties for Eska­soni’s large youth pop­u­la­tion to be future lead­ers in Cape Bre­ton.

Bernard’s win means stu­dents un­der the guid­ance of the school’s busi­ness cur­ricu­lum teacher Steve Par­sons have had a win­ning es­say in each year of the com­pe­ti­tion, which be­gan in 2006.

“I think once we ini­tially had a win­ner it kind of cre­ated some ex­cite­ment around the com­pe­ti­tion,” said Par­sons.

“ The stu­dents re­ally want to get in­volved in it and write the es­say.”

Both Par­sons and Bernard will at­tend the na­tional con­fer­ence in Ot­tawa, be­gin­ning March 1.

Bernard will de­liver a speech to the con­fer­ence’s 900 del­e­gates and at­tend busi­ness and fi­nan­cial work­shops.

Greg McNeil - Cape Bre­ton Post

Ber­tram Bernard, right, a Grade 12 stu­dent at Al­li­son M. Bernard Me­mo­rial High in Eska­soni, is Aboriginal Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada’s top es­say win­ner this year. He will travel to Ot­tawa on March 1 with his teacher Steve Par­sons, left, to be hon­oured for his es­say.

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