Good Shepherd School presented the Rose Lizotte-Briscoe Annual Native Leadership Award one final time on Tuesday June 25th. This award is annually presented to a grade five or six First Nations student who displays leadership qualities, just as Rose did. The award was created 25 years ago after grade five student Rose Lizotte-Briscoe passed away suddenly on December 11, 1994. This year’s award was presented to grade five student Hayden Neustaeter who is a pleasant, hardworking student. Hayden has become a true leader who is always willing to help others and is very deserving of this award. Rose’s family members including her parents Tom and Willette Brisco, sister Carter Briscoe, brother Dawson Briscoe, cousin Dane Lizotte were in attendance to present the award one last time.
“Presenting this award to deserving students for the last 25 years in Rose’s memory has been an honour. I will never forget Rose. She stood out because of her enthusiasm, neat attitude, and strong leadership qualities. She was an athletic, kind, friendly student who was loved by her classmates, other students and staff,” said Rose’s grade 5 Teacher Donna Brennan. “I am grateful to Rose’s family for joining me every single year to present this award in her memory.”
Mrs. Brennan, along with former Principal Dana Laliberte, recalled the day after Rose passed away as ‘the most difficult day’ in their teaching career. Not only did they have their own grief to experience, but as educators, they needed to take care of others as well – their fellow staff members, and the students in the school. Mrs. Laliberte recalls saying to staff members: “If we cry, we cry. That’s okay. That’s part of being a family, and that’s who we are at Good Shepherd.”
In addition to the annual award, Rose’s memory has been honoured in other ways including naming the grade five soccer field in her memory, as she loved playing soccer. Rose’s classmates all signed a rock from the riverbank and placed it on her tombstone where it remains today. A photo of Rose remained in Mrs. Brennan’s classroom where she has told all her students in the last 25 years about Rose.
As Mrs. Brennan is retiring this year, the Lizotte-Briscoe family requested that the award retire with her. Although the award was presented for the last time, Rose’s memory will live on in the hearts of all who knew her.