There is a lot of excitement this time of year as we approach the end of the school year, graduations, the Canada Day long weekend, sidewalk days and the air show at 15 Wing.
School is out for the summer holidays this week, and our high school commencement ceremonies are underway. Over 300 students will graduate from high school in Moose Jaw this year. Our graduates feel a sense of pride as they accomplish this goal and look forward to the opportunities ahead. These young men and women have much to offer our province as they prepare themselves in the future. On behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan, I congratulate you, commend you on your accomplishments and encourage you to continue to follow your dreams.
Key goals of the Ministry of Education are to increase graduation rates and to reduce the difference in graduation rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. Our schools and education partners have been working hard to achieve these goals and give all of our students the chance to succeed.
We have increased K-12 operating funding by 34 per cent since 2007 compared to an enrolment growth of 14 per cent. We have added more than 1,100 teachers and support staff, and invested in new schools and school renovations. The planning for a new school here in Moose Jaw is continuing as meetings are on going.
The dedicated efforts of education professionals and parents turn these investments into success for students. Statistics show that graduation rates are steadily rising and in 2018 were higher than any results for at least the past twenty years. Thank you to all education staff, administrators, school board members and families for their hard work in helping our students, and especially our graduates, succeed in their education.
In true Moose Jaw fashion, our community has come together to put on a great celebration for Canada Day. The day will start early for those in the Moose Jawg Charity Road Race. This event has raised over $134,000 for the Moose Jaw Health Foundation since it started 17 years ago. I enjoy another long time Canada Day tradition, the pancake breakfast at the Cosmo Centre.
Thank you to the Canada Day committee for organizing the entertainment in Crescent Park, with something for everyone and a variety of food vendors. While in Crescent Park, we can also browse through ParkArt to support the Moose Jaw Art Museum. The Western Development Museum is hosting special Canada Day events. The Kinsmen Club has generously sponsored the 2019 Canada Day Fireworks. Thank you to all who have contributed in helping Moose Jaw celebrate Canada on Canada Day.
These great ways to celebrate help remind us of the many advantages we enjoy as Canadians. We have universal education and health care. We have freedom to choose our work and our faith practices. We enjoy some of the most beautiful natural spaces in the world. And the diversity of cultures adds so much richness to our lives.
This summer as you participate in celebrations, travel, or spend time around the water, please keep safety in mind as much anticipated celebrations can turn tragic. Stay safe and have a wonderful summer. Happy Canada Day!