Eskasoni student wins national essay contest
Bertram Bernard continues Allison M. Bernard Memorial High’s winning tradition
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.
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.