My name is Devin and I am currently enrolled in Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Welding Applied Certificate program. I am building my knowledge and skills in operating welding equipment and performing welding operations to one-day work as a welder. I can say that without the help of the staff at Mother Teresa Middle School (MTMS), I am not sure I would have gotten to this point.

This is my ninth year being part of MTMS’s unique program and I want to share my journey with you, to shed light into the various phases that have helped shape me into who I am today. I actually began my journey at MTMS late – I came to the school in October of my grade 7 year and my class had already been together for some time. What struck me was that I was provided with school clothing and our whole class was wearing it. Even though I came late, I felt like part of a team right away. 

Despite the many struggles I had coming into MTMS, the team at the school didn’t waver in their commitment to help me succeed. They provided me with the wrap-around supports I needed at the time to better support me academically and socially, with a focus on my mental health. They saw the potential I had, which really helped me gain confidence to accomplish things I hadn’t previously done – like reading. At MTMS we read for 30 minutes after breakfast at school and then again, 30 minutes after lunch. Reading had never been a priority for me but when I came to MTMS, we read a lot and I got comfortable sitting down with a novel. 

Another thing that many people don’t know about MTMS’s unique program is that in grade 7 we were paired with mentors from the community. My mentor was great! We got to know each other by going on different outings, like to the movies and events in town. As I grew older and transitioned to high school, my mentor taught me how to ready myself for interviews and also helped me write my first resume.

Throughout my time at Miller Comprehensive Catholic High School, the Graduate Support Team at MTMS provided me with a lot of support. They helped me get school supplies and feel prepared, Mrs. Fogarty provided tutoring and helped me prepare for tests. While I was at Miller, I also recognized the need for physical activity and started a Boxing Club at the school. I was able to lean into the values and good habits I learned from MTMS throughout my time in high school and it motivated me to continue to grow.

During the summer of 2019, I was selected to attend the Bold Eagle program. This unique military summer training program combines Indigenous culture and teachings with military training. Upon completion of the program, I chose to remain as part of the Reserve Forces. I developed valuable skills such as self-discipline, teamwork and time management.

Following that summer, I returned to Miller and completed my high school education. While I may not have graduated on-time, with the support of the Graduate Support Team at MTMS and confidence I have gained in my abilities over the years, I earned my high school diploma and am now working towards achieving a post-secondary certificate. I continue to seek coaching and guidance from the College and Careers Coach at MTMS, to make sure I am on track. My journey is far from over and MTMS has supported me throughout the up’s and downs.

If you are able, I hope that you will consider making a gift to MTMS during this extraordinary year, to ensure that students and alumni have the resources and support they need during this uncertain time. I want people to know that without programming like this, students like me may miss out on realizing their potential and making our community a better place. 

Devin Pepper