Gabriel Dumont Institue


SUNTEP Student Aims to Lead Through Positivity

John Shelling

Feb 21, 2019

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The first week in February the University of Saskatchewan celebrates the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty through Indigenous Achievement Week (IAW).

The festivities include a public art project, speakers and celebrations in various locations across campus.

On Feb. 7, Indigenous students will be honoured at a ceremony to recognize their academic excellence, leadership, research endeavours or community engagement.

Kelly Camponi, a third-year student in the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Program (SUNTEP), will be receiving an award for community engagement. Camponi, a proud Métis father, demonstrates professional and respectful leadership in his studies and within his community.

We asked Camponi a few questions about what motivates him.

Why did you choose SUNTEP?

I chose SUNTEP because I am a proud Métis person and it has such a great reputation for producing a diverse group of very qualified Métis teachers and citizens. I very much wanted to be a part of something that asks nothing more of its students than to be great teachers and leaders in the communities they serve.

What advice would you give to other parents pursuing higher education?

I think I would tell them to remember why they are doing it. Who is it for? I know that for some it’s for their children as well as for themselves, for others it may be because they just want something better and rewarding in life and for some it might be because they want to make a positive impact on someone’s life. Whatever their reason is they should always try to remember why. This will help to get through some of the difficult times all students face.

What plans do you have for the future?

I hope that my future holds the opportunity to be in a classroom doing what I am really passionate about, but one can never be too sure what is in store for them. Whatever my future holds I hope it is helping to shape young minds into becoming respectful, happy and loving citizens.

Has there been someone in your life who has inspired you to get to where you are today?

There have been so many people who have helped me to get to this point in my life. From friends and family, to the faculty and staff here at SUNTEP. I had a teacher in elementary school who really changed me and helped me to see the potential I had. He really made me want to become a teacher. I have to say that my fellow students in SUNTEP have really been an inspiration to me as well. To see people who “aren’t supposed” to succeed fight through that stigma and be successful helps me to believe that I can also be successful. Of course a special thanks goes out to my sister who is also a SUNTEP student. She really pushed me to return to school and finish my education.

This year’s theme of the Indigenous Achievement Week is Powerful Voices. If there is one thing you can use your voice for in this moment what would it be for?

I think I would say that it is never too late to make positive change, be it for yourself or for others. Be kind to one another and never stop striving to become a positive person in someone’s life. Stop and see the world around you and do whatever you can to help others because we all need a little help once in a while.

John Shelling is a Communications and Publications Specialist, Teaching, Learning and Student Experience, at the University of Saskatchewan.The article was first published on It is reprinted here with permission

.(Photo: Carey Shaw)

Kelly Camponi
(Photo: Carey Shaw)

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

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