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Lori Kavanaugh (left) has been with Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation school since it opened in 1987. Andrew Kivell (right) is now the principal. (Cathy Alex/CBC ) Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation elementary school, about 20 kilometres west of Dryden, Ontario is marking 30 years of tradition, celebration and graduation in June.

The school started out as a just a few rooms in the band office.

Now, the 24 Junior Kindergarten to grade 6 students take their classes in a bright, airy, welcoming building, which was opened in 2002. Graduating students move on to Grade 7 at Open Roads School in Dryden.

Executive secretary Lori Kavanaugh, who has been at Migisi Sahgaigan school since the very beginning, said she is tremendously proud of what the students have accomplished.

"We’ve got a lawyer, couple doctors, we have social workers, just knowing that is the big deal, they continued their education and they came from here," she said. "I’m almost in tears, actually I am in tears, it’s just unreal!"

Principal Andrew Kivell has only been with the school for six years, but has spent that time helping to create a school atmosphere which is safe, positive and conducive to learning not only the provincial curriculum but also Anishinaabe language and culture. Anishinaabemowin words and phrases can be found throughout Migisi Sahgaigan elementary school. (Cathy Alex/CBC ) Each new school week begins with a smudging ceremony. The library has display cabinets showcasing powwow regalia made by local women. A large stuffed bald eagle watches over the children while they read.

Every morning, students read the announcements, including monthly Anishinawbemowin words and phrases which everyone is expected to practice, said Kivell.

"Hopefully that will transition back home, and having the parents speaking the language. Often the kids are helping us, helping the adults because they pick it up so quick and […]

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