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Inner City Graduates

by Lauren Gilley / Edmonton Oilers

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.”

Dr. Seuss’ familiar sentiments rang true on Thursday afternoon as eight graduates and over 100 students celebrated another successful year at Inner City High School. Surrounded by a group of proud teachers, peers and community supporters, the graduates reflected on their journey as they prepared to move in a new direction.

2013 graduate Kimberly Emard came to Inner City High as a 15-year-old single mother struggling with addiction. Wanting to set an example for her young daughter, she searched for a program that would allow her to complete her high-school education despite unique circumstances. She found that in Inner City High School and from the moment she walked through the door she felt an immediate sense of support. Eight years later, with her daughter by her side, a transformed Kimberly beamed as she accepted her high-school diploma.

“I’ve been working my butt off to get to where I’m at and I’m so grateful for all the teachers and the principals and the Edmonton Oilers for funding our school and helping us to get through this,” Kimberly shared.

With the majority of students facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Kimberly’s story is just one testament to the life-changing work being done at Inner City High. While the academic and arts-based curriculum offers an alternative to main-stream education, the school also places a large focus on their student’s livelihood and offers assistance with finding accommodations, counseling, proper nutrition and medical services.

“On graduation day, it’s really important that we recognize these students and recognize the battles that they’ve fought to get to this point,” said Joe Cloutier, Director at Inner City High School. “Everyone is so proud of what’s going on in the school, and of the building itself, and we’d like to thank the Oilers for that work.”

The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation is extremely proud of the work accomplished by not only the graduates, but by all students who are making an effort to better their lives. Attendance is at a record high and, with the final phase of renovations slated to be complete in August, the school itself is looking better than ever.

“To see the students here celebrating with their families, children and fellow students is amazing and inspiring,” added Natalie Minckler, Executive Director of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. “We are so, so proud of the work that they’ve done here.”

For more information on Inner City High School and the EOCF’s commitment to its redevelopment, please visit

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