Jillian Deveau — $1500 Scholarship Recipient (NSCC Burridge)
As a teenager, Jillian Deveau lost confidence in her ability to learn in a classroom setting. Yet despite this challenge, she knew that her future depended on acquiring an academic credential that would open doors for her and her two young children. “I decided to return to school to better myself. I wanted to have a good job so I could support my family and have something to be proud of for myself,” Jillian remarked.
Dana Osmond, Jillian’s ALP instructor at Yarmouth County Learning Network, described her as a bright, energetic, and enthusiastic learner. Dana conveyed how, “one by one, she knocked off each GED exam, and came back with a big smile, ready to prepare for the next subject.” Despite the difficulties of working and finding time to raise her young children, Dana shared how Jillian, “never wavered in her goal, driving 40 minutes each way from the French community of Clare to Yarmouth in order to come to class.”
After an in-depth conversation with Dana about current gaps in the Canadian labour market, Jillian decided that the trades would be an excellent professional fit. Today she is enrolled in her first year of welding at NSCC Burridge. “I think the best thing about going back to school is that I picked a course that I absolutely love. I find it really suits me and I enjoy waking up and going to school every day,” Jillian shared.
Jillian’s goal is to pass her Red Seal Exam and pursue further training in underwater welding. “I really like to excel and push myself to do better. I have set a goal to graduate with honours as that would be a very big achievement for me,” Jillian remarked.
Thanks to the support of the Yarmouth County Learning Network, Jillian has rediscovered her own resilience and has replaced self-doubt with a strong belief in the importance of her dreams. “I want to become the best that I can be and push myself to do better,” says Jillian, “not just for me but for my kids, so I can give them the life they deserve.”
Matthew Walls — $500 Bursary Recipient (NSCC Adult Learning Program)
Like many Canadians growing up in low-income communities, Matthew Walls dropped out of school in grade 10, trading schoolbooks for a paycheck to help earn extra money for his family. “I grew up very poor. We used the foodbank daily, never had a car for long, and have spent more than one Christmas in a soup kitchen, not as a volunteer but as a hungry mouth to feed,” Matthew shared.
Matthew is currently working with the NSCC's Adult Education Program in Truro and is on schedule to complete his GED in May of this year. Shannon MacDonald, Matthew’s instructor, describes him as a quiet leader and praised his inherent resilience and persistence as essential to his success in the program.
“Matt has encountered a multitude of speed bumps in his journey and has risen to meet each of them,” Shannon said. “A bursary like this would be life changing for him at this juncture. It would be wonderful to see a learner like this, who cares so much for others, be rewarded in an unexpected way.”
With help from NSCC, Matthew is well on his way to becoming the first person in his family to complete a secondary education. “My plan starts with a diploma and goes on to becoming an Electrical Engineering Technician. With this education and training, I will be able to build a career in a field where I can help people and am passionate about,” Matthew said.
Always seeking to improve his knowledge and skills, Matthew’s instructor drew attention to his strong ability to inspire his fellow classmates as they work towards achieving their own goals. Staying true to his desire to help others, Matthew hopes one day to purchase a large plot of land and build a house on it for his parents.
Bailee Kay — $500 Bursary Recipient (NSCC Adult Learning Program)
As part of the more than 31,000 Nova Scotians who earn minimum wage, Bailee Kay knows what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. “Working full-time only making minimum wage was hard, and no matter how many shifts I had I was living paycheck to paycheck,” Bailee remarked.
Living in the rural community of Middle Musquodoboit, Bailee has encountered many difficulties on her journey towards completing her GED. A lack of job opportunities, long-distance travel, scheduling conflicts, and servicing existing loans have all taken their toll financially. Yet, she remained steadfast in the pursuit of her educational goals. “I returned to school because I know that I will need my Grade 12 to make enough financially to support a family… and because I wanted something better for myself,” Bailee explained.
André Davey is Bailee’s instructor at NSCC's Adult Learning Program in Truro, and he praised her diligent work ethic and supportive mindset as keys to Bailee’s academic success. “The notes she takes and questions she asks have helped her achieve exceptional results,” André commented. He further shared how, “Bailee has also been instrumental in assisting her peers when they are struggling with a concept.”
Since returning to school in 2017, Bailee has experienced tremendous personal growth. “I’ve seen my confidence and my happiness grow more and more with every achievement I make which is a nice feeling and something I don’t feel very often,” Bailee said.
Ann Tanner — $500 Bursary Recipient (Lunenburg County Adult Learning Network)
Ann Tanner has dedicated her life to helping others. After leaving school, she began working at Hillside Pines, a special care home located in Bridgewater. Twenty-seven years later, Ann felt it was time to move on and secured a job at Ridgewood Retirement Centre and later Riverview Assisted Living Centre.
In 2021, Ann applied for a position that she knew would be a perfect fit. “I went to the South Shore Regional Hospital for a job. With all my work experience, the only thing that stopped me from [getting] that job was [my] Grade 12 or GED,” Anne shared.
With guidance from a career coach, Ann started working at a busy local restaurant in the mornings and as an industrial cleaner in the evenings which allowed her to attend classes at the Lunenburg County Adult Learning Network (LCALN). At first, she was apprehensive about returning to school, but the staff at LCALN did everything they could to reassure her. “I walked in not knowing what would happen. It was like it was meant to be. At last, someone could help me get my GED. I got pushed through the school system and no one blinked an eye. Well, I can say that will not happen here. I’m so glad I took the chance and came in,” Ann said.
Ann’s instructor, Anne Chase, describes her as a dream student, always arriving at the scheduled time and ready to work with a positive and eager attitude. Ever supportive of her classmates, Anne describes how “new learners are welcomed by Ann immediately. She tells them everything they need to know to help make them feel comfortable.”
Ann credits LCALN’s support as pivotal in helping her reach her goal and remains determined to secure meaningful employment with the regional hospital. “My personal plan is to return to the place that turned me away and say, ‘Look at me now! I am here, ready to start. I have everything you need to hire me, my GED!’ If I can’t achieve my goal of working for the hospital, I will keep going until I get what I want. I want the job meant for me,” Ann said.
Jennifer W. — LNS Bursary Recipient (NSCC Truro)
Every year, Literacy Nova Scotia provides support to the NSCC Foundation. The bursary is awarded to a student at the NSCC Truro Campus, or another NSCC Campus if there are no eligible applications from Truro. The recipient of the bursary must have obtained a high school diploma or GED outside of the public school system. This year's proud recipient is Jennifer W.
"Receiving this award will have an impact on allowing me to continue to focus on school without the added financial stress. Between being a full time student and full time mother, I was stressed about how I would be able to make ends meet. This has alleviated some of that stress. It allows me more flexibility on whether I will need to go to work and when.”
I chose NSCC as an entry point to further my education. I know that NSCC has a great reputation and that some university's will accept the credits towards a bachelor degree. My goals for the future are to continue my education on to university. I want to focus on getting good grades and allowing myself to absorb as much information as possible. By relieving some financial stress, I am able to better focus on studying and my grades.
I would like the donor to understand the valuable impact this award will have on my life. Student financial stress can be a deal breaker for some people. I was worried that as an adult student, it would be easier for me to just work and not pursue my goals. This extra support helps me feel more secure and supported through this journey. Thank you so much to everyone involved in allowing me to receive this award. It does not go unnoticed.”
To learn more about how we're helping to enhance student success, visit the NSCC Foundation page.
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