‘Alika LaFontaine

Don’t even think of labeling ‘Alika LaFontaine. Ever. An “expert” tried to do just that a decade ago and the Saskatchewan Metis was labeled “developmentally delayed.” Scant years later, LaFontaine has obviously proved the critics wrong. He’s now begun his first year of pre-med studies at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, arriving there after setting an academic record of his own. At 97 per cent, his mark in his school’s Grade 12 Native Studies Class was the highest ever recorded. Just for good measure, he also chalked up a mark of 92 per cent in biology- a course that will help him to achieve his goal of becoming a cardiologist with an added specialty in cancer care. His awards speak for him: a 1998 Canada Youth Award, Canada Youth Award finalist; 1998 Rotary Club Service Award and a same-year Sherwood Cooperative Service Award. If that isn’t enough, Mr. LaFontaine is also a master when sitting in front of the piano’s keys and he has a first-degree black belt in tae kwon do, taking home honours in the Canadian national championships and the Pan-American International Championships. When not busy with all this, you’ll find Mr. LaFontaine out and about, volunteering in his community. He’s supervised young students after classes while they waited for their parents to return home from work and is a key volunteer with the North of 55 Aboriginal Seniors group. Indeed, volunteering is critical, he says. “Do not put yourself first,” is his advice when interviewed. “Put others first. Material things aren’t important enough to limit what you do for others (and) learn how to share.” Wise words. For these accomplishments and the hope for the future this young man embodies, ‘Alika LaFontaine was the 1999 National Aboriginal Achievement Award Youth recipient.