Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lt Governor Point visits Agassiz youth

The Honourable Lt-Gov. Steven Point made a special visit to local students last week.

Point came to Agassiz Elementary Secondary School as part of his pledge to visit as many schools as possible during his term. He talked with a gym-full of youth last Friday, Feb. 27 about the role of the lieutenant governor in B.C., the importance of literacy and about the desire to see leadership from today's youth.

"Leadership is about taking control of your life, planning where you're going to be," Point told students. "It's about understanding that every moment of your life, the creator up there has provided opportunities for you to learn things."

He made it clear that youth today need to look forward instead of dwelling on the things that have happened in the past. Point called out those that do drugs and snub authority, saying leadership is about doing something that may not be popular, but you know is right.

"Your life shouldn't be a series of errors . . . it is exactly what you make it," he said. "Plan your life. Make it a good one, because no one else has the power to do so."

The other subject Point took the time to discuss was literacy. When he became lieutenant governor, Point looked at the issues facing British Columbians.

"Speaking with Shirley Bond, literacy is an issue not just with Aboriginals, but across the province," he commented. "In a country so high with our standard of living, why do we have such a high problem with literacy? That's a question I'm interested in."

When he began his term, Point decided to help increase literacy levels in B.C. in a few ways. The first was to bring books to isolated communities within the province, especially to First Nations communities. The second was an online initiative to allow children to tell stories and send them to Government House. Pictures are available at the official website of the Lieutenant Governor. Children can download the images, write a story about what is happening in the pictures and send the story back to Point.

He encouraged the students to read, to learn how to use the library and to ensure they have literacy skills needed for jobs. He talked about the knowledge gathered in books in the library, and said students today not only need to have the ability to read and understand those books, but to contribute to that knowledge base as well.

"The obligation is for you to contribute to that knowledge. You can't do that if you don't read and write."

He went on to share a story of his days as a judge, finding that even lawyers sometimes did not have the communication tools necessary to adequately explain their cases.

At the end of his presentation, Point opened up the floor for students to ask him questions. Most were thoughtful questions, such as who inspired him and did he always want to be a lieutenant governor, and who does he look up to? To that question, Point said while he has met many inspirational people, including the Pope, the Queen, and the Dalai Lama, people close to him have been the great role models in his life including his brother. He said for today's youth, there are many role models to look up to, citing local First Nations RCMP Corporal Chris Gosselin sitting in the front row as an example.

After the question time, Board of Education Chair Al Fraser and Kent Councillor John Van Laerhoven both got up to say a few words for the occassion. Then some students presented Point wiht some gifts, incuding a large framed painting of the late Chief Dan George. Gwen Point acknowledged that they had a painting of Chief George that was lost in their recent house fire, so this gift was very timely and appreciated.

Following the ceremony, students shared a meal with Lt.-Gov Point and his wife, her honour Gwen Point.