In The Community


Local Heroes

Sixteen firefighters from the First Nations and Mètis communities of Fort McKay, pictured, and Fort Chipewyan are amongst the hundreds deployed to help local firefighters tackle the blaze that swarmed Fort McMurray, Alberta in May of 2016.

Photo courtesy of Mel Grandjamb

Mel Grandjamb; President of Fort McKay Alcor,
gives back to the Fort McKay community by investing in its youth.

Giving Back First Priority

Photo taken: Wednesday, June 24, 2015; at the Fort McKay School Awards.

Mel attended the Fort McKay School growing up from Kindergarten to Grade 9. Mel presented 8 graduates with an iPad for their successful completion. These students will be making a transition to attend High School in Fort McMurray in September 2015. This is a huge change for the students of Fort McKay and some may find it to be fairly daunting; while use to sitting in a classroom with numbers of under 10 students, while others will not blink an eye at the change. Mel doesn’t believe they will be anything but successful.

“If they want it, take it seriously, they will be successful. I would like to encourage every student that they should not settle.”

As a former student of Fort McKay School, and a student who also had to ride the bus every day at 6:30 AM to take the 40 minute drive into town to attend school one way. Mel knows first-hand the positive and yet challenging adjustments the students will face. It can be a huge struggle to overcome the long hours of school; with travel to and from home, larger class rooms and at times mistreatment. Mel figured he had an opportunity to encourage the graduates as a role model and to try to show them they can succeed and are not alone. Mel also recognizes times have changed and there are positions in place at the schools to support outlining area schools to support the change from the community school to a school triple in size for the students. He just feels if he can say one thing to the students that can encourage them and at least makes a difference in one child’s life, he has won.

Mel announced Fort McKay Alcor’s initiative on June 24, 2015 in front of many local parents and teachers attending the Awards Event for Fort McKay School. He feels this is a starting point to give back to the students each year through acknowledgement of the Grade 8 graduates and to provide career counselling early on within the Fort McKay Elementary School.

“I really want to work with the students early on, not at Grade 9; but in the earlier grades. Career planning and the tools to succeed are needed at an early age, not when they hit Grade 10 or when they graduate. If I hadn’t had the schooling I had, I would not have had the opportunities I have had to date. I really would like students to know they are not limited to being a truck driver or laborer. If a student would like to be a doctor, or a field engineer, let’s do it!

– Mel Grandjamb, President, Fort McKay Alcor