Cauy Healy is a normal teenager, but he’s determined to accomplish something neither his parents nor his 10 siblings have done: graduate high school.
“I want to be the first one in my family to have my diploma,” said Healy. “I’ve been compared to my sisters so many times. Oh, I’m just going to ‘drop out of school.’ Oh, I’m just going to ‘drink.’ Oh, I’m just going to ‘have kids.’”
Cauy said hearing these comparisons from his own family made him more determined to graduate.
Cauy, his brothers, and sisters were often passed between their mom and dad. “The first time it happened, I didn’t understand it. I’m still trying to understand it now,” said Cauy of an early memory of moving between homes. “It felt like we were objects.”
Eventually, his family got kicked out of an apartment for delinquency on rent payments, so his mother moved out and settled with her children in Vancouver. Then his older sister left too, leaving him by himself in a basement apartment.
Thanks to a neighbor, Cauy got a job in exterior renovations then landed a room to rent in the house. “People look at me and they tell me I’m completely different from the ‘average native.’ That kind of makes me laugh. What’s the ‘average native’?” asked Cauy. “When people think of a native they think of alcohol, drugs, people on the streets, partying all the time, ‘savages’ that live on the reserve. ‘You get money from the government.’ and things like that. I don’t want to be thought about like that. I want to have the things that I want – have the house, have the family, have the good future, be able to go traveling.”
His intentions are good and he’s set to graduate next year and make decisions that will make or break him. “Honestly, before, I didn’t even think I could finish high school,” said Cauy. “But now I’m on track to finishing high school. I can go to university. I can get a job. I can travel. It’s so overwhelming that I don’t know what to pick from.”
The future looks bright for Cary, who added, “I’m going to finish high school and I’m going to get my diploma. I’m going to walk that stage!”