The passing of counsellor and teacher Victor Thunderchild last weekend due to COVID-19 has led a group of friends and colleagues at Carlton Comprehensive High School to try to find a way to honour his legacy. On Wednesday a GoFundMe was launched for the Victor Thunderchild Legacy Scholarship which will collect funds in his name to be given to Indigenous students who are pursuing post-secondary education.
After his passing the group discussed ways to honour his legacy according to co-spokesperson Danelle VanSteelandt, who has her name attached to the campaign along with Kelly Klassen. The group has come together as an unofficial board for the scholarship.
“As we were grieving together we talked about (how it would) be nice if we could continue some of this work and what would that look like and came up with the idea of a scholarship,” Van Steelandt said.
“Victor was a champion for First Nations and for these kids furthering their education and sending them on a road to success and being that support person for them.”
“we just wanted to do something good for him and his legacy and people that wanted to reach out and support what he was doing in the school and education,” Klassen added.
“We thought this was a good project to get started.
Thunderchild’s legacy was felt all over Prince Albert Thunderchild was a champion of First Nations education and the Truth and Reconciliation process and his legacy was felt by everyone at Carlton according to VanSteelandt.
Thunderchild’s legacy was felt all over Prince Albert and the province VanSteelandt explained that he was a dancer and a teacher who was also organizing an indigenous youth conference.
“He has this massive personality and he also has this massive connection to our community here and to his community at home and the First Nations community at large in Saskatchewan — not just in Prince Albert,” she explained.
The site for donations is ca.gofundme.com/f/victor-thunderchild-legacy-scholarship.
For those who don’t use gofundme or don’t have the internet, an account exists at Conexus Credit Union under the Victor Thunderchild Legacy Scholarship.
“Anyone can contribute to that account anywhere in Saskatchewan at any Conexus Credit Union if they would like to contribute that way,” Klassen explained.
Thunderchild’s presence is missed, Klassen said. A makeshift memorial was set up Monday and flowers honouring Thunderchild have been collecting inside the building.
“I think we are definitely still in the grieving process, Monday was really difficult for the staff and several students are obviously trying to deal with that loss and him not being in the building. I think time heals but we still miss him in the building, kids are still missing his presence,” Klassen said.
As of print deadline Thursday, the GoFundMe has already raised $5,960 of the $20,000 goal.
“We had a good beginning so far,” Klassen said. “Some very generous people have reached out to help out.”