Mother Teresa Middle School Alumna, Arrian Whitebear Soars to New Heights Through the Bold Eagle Program  

Arrian Whitebear has accomplished a lot since graduating from Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS) in 2018, but nothing quite compares to the Bold Eagle program. “I like pushing myself forward, if I have the opportunity to better myself, I will take the opportunity to do it,” said Whitebear, an MTMS alumna and current Grade 12 student at Luther College High School. Bold Eagle is a six-week summer training program that combines Indigenous culture and teachings with military training. During the training, each student is enrolled as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. “An important lesson I took away from the training was teamwork. Growing up, I was very independent and when I was there, I always had to rely on someone,” said Whitebear. 

"They want to include more Indigenous people into the military. I think it is really important to have this representation, as we can serve our country, it’s our country to protect.” - Arrian Whitebear

The first week of the program includes a Culture Camp with a focus on traditional Indigenous values and teachings. “In previous years they didn’t have this component, but they have seen greater success from the built-in one-week teachings. They want to include more Indigenous people in the military. I think it is really important to have this representation, as we can serve our country, it’s our country to protect, she said. The Culture Camp also provided great development opportunities. “Learning about different professions that we can pursue, how to take care of ourselves, and learning about our own (Indigenous) people was a highlight," Whitebear said.

Her time at MTMS set a foundation for some of the skills taught through the program, such as perseverance. “I faced many challenges and had some difficult moments during my time at MTMS, and they (MTMS staff) helped me work through those tough times and then I was able to continue wanting to do better for myself,” said Whitebear. Completing the Bold Eagle program takes tremendous dedication, discipline, and hard work; skills she was able to hone during the last seven years with the support of MTMS. She offered this advice to students who are just beginning their educational journeys with MTMS, “I know that we (my classmates and I) dealt with a lot of hard things and it’s about trusting people. It is tough to get to know new people, especially after going through rough patches, it can be difficult to accept good things. I would encourage you to trust, even though it can be hard.”

Whitebear has stayed enrolled with the Canadian Army Reserves on a part-time basis and intends to complete more military training this upcoming summer. Despite her busy schedule, she is also inspired to give back to MTMS through volunteering. “I would like to continue with volunteering (at MTMS) because one of my passions is traditional dancing, I really love that,” she said, with a smile. Looking ahead, Whitebear is dedicated to achieving her educational and personal goals. “I want to progress in my education and be the best that I can be.”