FREDERICTON (CNB) - Ed Doherty, Minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, today congratulated the Eel Ground School Drama Club, Peter MacDonald and John Bosma for winning the 2008 Kaiser Foundation National Award of Excellence for Aboriginal Programming for their play entitled"After the Thunder: The Simon Bishop Story."

The play deals with the issues of teenage stress and suicide, and how education, awareness and discussion are crucial tools in preventing these tragedies.

Doherty is especially pleased with the choice of Eel Ground Drama Club, as he lobbied by sending a letter in November 2007 asking that the students and staff be nominated for this award.

"I recognize that the Kaiser Foundation had a very challenging task choosing the recipient of this award from submissions across Canada," the minister said. "I am absolutely delighted that Eel Ground Drama Club along with Peter MacDonald and John Bosma have been recognized with this prestigious award."

The goal of the National Awards for Excellence is to recognize six outstanding individuals, programs or organizations from across Canada for their tireless efforts in promoting both physical and mental health by reducing the harm resulting from substance use.

"By addressing the difficult social issues that many First Nations communities face, and by taking charge and making a difference, the students and staff of Eel Ground First Nation School are not only role models for their peers but also their community," Doherty said.

The Kaiser Foundation, a registered charitable organization, has been dedicated to helping individuals and communities live healthier and more productive lives by reducing the harm associated with substance use.