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Port Perry High School supporting Indigenous students through new room

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: Community partners came together to unveil an Indigenous Student Room at Port Perry High School (PPHS) on Tuesday, October 15th. A Durham District School Board (DDSB) press release described the room as “a safe and supportive space for Indigenous students to access throughout the school day, at lunch, and after school when Indigenous programming is provided.” “I hope our young people access this room all the time,” trustee Carolyn Morton said at the announcement. The idea for the room was the brainchild of Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation Education Advisor Mary-Anne Hoggarth. “She’s really been the driving force behind the room,” PPHS Principal Greg Scotchburn told The Standard. Mr. Scotchburn said the vision of the room is to help Indigenous students “feel connected to their background, their own way of being, own experiences.” “Anytime the school is open, this is a place where their background is recognized and supported,” he said. Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation Chief Kelly LaRocca called this room an “excellent cooperative project.” “It’s a space I know will get used, it’s a space that I could see myself in when I was a youngster here at Port Perry High School. I really could’ve used a room like this to come discuss the things going on in my life and in my community, and connect with other Indigenous and non Indigenous students. That would’ve been very helpful, so I’m very excited,” she said. Mr. Scotchburn called the opportunity to have this room at the school “really exciting.” “We want all of our students to be able to reach their potential. Anything we can do to listen to their voice, to support them, is something we are excited about as a staff.”

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