A Hatzic Secondary School student was one of three students in Canada selected to attend a finance and management conference in Toronto earlier this year.
Tanesha Galt, 18, has made radical changes in her life over the past five years, and is striving towards working in finance with the eventual goal of returning to her reserve to help her people.
Galt has lived in Deroche since she was 13, previously residing in Chilliwack. Throughout Grade 8 and 9 she said she was failing her classes and skipping out constantly.
She guesses her grades had fallen to around 30 per cent in her courses.
“I was watching everyone around me struggle so much” with finances, said Galt, and she wanted none of that in her life.
Galt realized if she stayed on her current path, she could make the same mistakes others had, and by Grade 10, changed her friends and mindset.
She credits her leadership teacher Mr. Voss and the liaison workers at Hatzic’s Aboriginal Centre, especially Tina Ramsay, for keeping her focused and providing the encouragement she needed early on to continue working hard.
“I started to do the work, and started earning As and Bs. Teachers were now saying they were proud of me. I like hearing that now,” she shared.
Ramsay brought to Galt’s attention an opportunity through the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association.
The organization hosts the Aboriginal Youth Financial Management Conference Awards annually, and allows winners to attend the event which is designed to introduce youth to careers in Aboriginal finance and management.
In Galt’s entry, she had to answer five essay questions and detail her achievements to date, career goals, obtain reference letters and write out her biography.
She says the judges sifted through hundreds of applications but told her that hers stood out and that she was an easy winner.
As part of the prize, Galt was put up in the Castle Harbour Hotel in Toronto, and was toured around the headquarters for Bank of Montreal, TD-Canada Trust and the University of Toronto.
She was also approached by 11 employers who pledged their assistance if Galt required it, either with scholarships or internships.
The amiable student will be attending Riverside College for some upgrading before likely continuing on to the University of Saskatchewan, which has more of a focus on Aboriginal studies than some of the other schools.