Kavanaugh honoured as an ‘achiever’

“My wife, Lori, gave me quite a big surprise about a month ago. She handed me a letter and it said I had won.”
That’s what Darcy Kavanaugh remembered about the moment he first found out he had been chosen as one of the role models honoured at the Celebration of Anishinaabe Achievers of the Treaty #3 Nation last week at the Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation, near Kenora.
“It was a big event–I think 500-plus people,” said the 28-year-old Couchiching resident, who works at Northland Computers Plus here. “They could have sold more tickets but the place was at capacity.”
Kavanaugh found out in December he had been nominated as a role model by Shooniiyaa Biidoong, a local program which had helped him graduate from Confederation College about two years ago.
“I think they chose me because I had a clean criminal record,” he remarked. “I got a great [4.0] average in school, and overcame the temptation of drugs and alcohol–generally, I’ve led a good life.”
While honoured to be in the spotlight, Kavanaugh said he was glad not to be the only one.
“I didn’t have to give a speech–everything I would have said, I already said in the book,” he laughed, referring to how the gala coincided with the release of a special edition “Anishinaabe Achievers” book profiling 52 chosen role models who were on hand.
Kavanaugh also said many others there were more deserving than he. “A lot of the others overcame some heavy obstacles,” he noted. “What makes them special is they’re not living life double-minded. We should do what we say we should do.
“They certainly had every right to be honoured like that,” he stressed.
The banquet is expected to become an annual event, continuing to highlight role models for Anishinaabe youth–something Kavanaugh believes is a good thing to do.
“There’s a certain number of young people out there taking a stand for what’s right. They should be recognized for that also,” he said.
The long-term goal of the project is to encourage youth to seek mentors for inspiration to achieve their own goals, and for school use as a resource material when organizing such things as career days.