Seventeen students will graduate Friday from Project for Alternative Learning.
Amanda WalkingChild, an alumna of the school, speaks at the 4 p.m. graduation ceremony at Helena Middle School.
“I’m a PAL graduate,” said WalkingChild, who is a Helena Public Schools K-12 Indian Education instructional coach.
“I’m basically just going to talk about my life because I’m a Native who grew up and spent my later years in Helena and the struggles I went through -- and how I overcame a lot of things to be where I am today,” said WalkingChild.
“I know I want to add that PAL is the most wonderful school. There is a lot of encouragement there from teachers and staff," she said.
Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, WalkingChild, who is a one of the Ojibway people, moved to Montana in the 1990s, where she’s attended middle school, high school and college.
WalkingChild worked as a para-4 educator at Jefferson Elementary for three to four years, she said. She started her college career attending what is now Helena College and then went to University of Montana-Missoula in 2009 to work on her teaching degree.
WalkingChild, the mother of three, also runs a business with her husband, Rising Lightning Environmental Contractors in Helena, which is an asbestos, lead and mold abatement company.