Graduation season has arrived at our local Estonian and Latvian supplementary schools in Toronto and in Hamilton! Northern Birch Credit Union is proud to support our schools, and especially the graduates of the elementary and high school programs!
Estonian and Latvian supplementary schools play an important role in our communities. For decades, our schools have been focal points of our communities, teaching our languages to students who may or may not speak them at home. History and geography have also long been important subjects, for students to gain an understanding of where our ancestors come from, as well as to understand Estonia’s and Latvia’s place in the world historically, today, and in the future. The schools are also places to learn about our cultures – singing, folk dancing, literature, poetry and art all give us a deeper understanding of who we are and where we come from, as well as bringing the language and history to life. But one of the most important things about the Estonian and Latvian schools here in Ontario is the lifelong friends and connections that grow from attending the schools. Valedictorians at graduation ceremonies often speak of the value of learning the various complicated grammar intricacies of our languages, but the emphasis of these speeches tends to be about the “free time” moments of playing tag and hide-and-seek in the hallways or run to the convenience store for a snack during recess – these are the moments when friendships have been developed over the years.
Northern Birch Credit Union, and historically the Estonian and Latvian Credit Unions, have long been connected to the supplementary schools in our communities. In recent years, we have provided financial literacy lessons to the students, which we hope to resume when the schools restart with in-person learning. We are proud to support the schools throughout the school year, and especially to provide stipends to graduates.
Northern Birch also has strong staff connections to the Estonian and Latvian schools. Several of our current staff members also teach at the schools, and many others have taught in the past. Many of our staff members over the years have been graduates of the Estonian and Latvian supplementary schools, and some of us are now credit union colleagues with our former teachers. Having Estonian and Latvian language skills can help you find a job even here in Toronto and Hamilton!
Congratulations to all graduates, students, teachers, volunteers and organizers on a successful 2022 school year!