Approximately 500 people came together at Sault Comfort Inn & Suites, Great Northern Road, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to continue the legacy of academic excellence as found at Sault College. Mission: ‘To make our society a better place by providing a transformative life experience through empowering those who study with us to think and learn in progressive,innovative ways,including those we have not yet imagined.’
The 42nd anniversary of the Scholarship Bursary and Awards Night began with Sault College, Master of Ceremonies Susan
Hunter sharing “240 students will receive bursaries,scholarships and awards tonight.” Susan Hunter further explained that the awards and bursaries received by students have a history rooted in community and private donations, and are a testament to the ongoing importance of a Sault College education. Acknowledging the donors in the audience, Susan said “thank you for doing what you do to help us continue to inspire education in our community.” Some points to ponder, ‘More than 1,900 students will receive financial support through scholarships,bursaries and awards during the academic year. Close to $300,000 will be the sum total of the financial support distributed at The 42nd Scholarship Bursary and Awards Night, and $1.8 million over the year in 2015.’
Dr.Ron Common, Sault College President has just returned from a visit to two educational institutes in Brazil, where he engaged in meetings and conversations about faculty, administration and student exchanges. He highlighted the value that the country of Brazil places on an educated society, sharing “every student in Brazil attends post-secondary education tuition-free.” The assembled crowd for the Awards Night found this information to be, well, applauded. Dr. Common went on to further enlighten the group with more fun facts about Brazil and higher education. “In fact, post secondary students can receive free childcare, free books, AND meal plans.” Dr. Common found this to be a stark contrast to the existence for food banks in Sault College, and in fact, College communities right across this Country.
And the reality is, that Sault College, not unlike College campuses across Canada, include vibrant communities where age, and income do not need to be insurmountable barriers to following a dream of higher education.
The 240 Sault College students receiving financial awards and bursaries are from a wide cross section of ages, marital status, with or without children. In fact, one of the opening speakers for Awards Night, student & mother of 6 children Michelle Kyle, spoke about her educational experience thus far at Sault College, and the encouragement attending Sault College has afforded her. “All of my professors are amazingly inspirational to me, and have empowered me to believe that I can achieve my dreams, as a mature student.”
Ashley Seeler, nursing student,mother of one young child, and expecting her second child very soon.(April 14th) is the recipient of Alzheimer Society of SSMarie/Algoma District Scholarship. Ashley shared that “a person would submit a letter describing the value of education, as it relates to criteria for the specific scholarship.”
There is a Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards Advisory Committee established at Sault College, and it is to this committee that Ashley Seeler is referring. Another mom of 5 children ranging in ages from 8 – 20 years, Lisa Souliere, wrote an essay describing her vision for education,community capacity, and barriers to completing an education when financial restrictions play a role in attending and finishing a college programme. Lisa, a Social Services Native Specialization Programme student, was the 2015 recipient for Building Community Capacity Through Education Scholarship.
Dora Cook, local retired educator, and former director of Sault Senior Singers was in attendance to award the recipients selected for Business and Professional Women’s Club of Sault Ste. Marie. Established in 1950, BPW, has been lobbying for government policy that reflects the unique needs of women in professional work environments.”Since 1966,BPW has worked to elevate issues of pension reform, healthcare policy, daycare affordability, and pay equity for women in the workforce.” Dora Cook further shared that “Business and Professional Women’s Clubs work at local,provincial,national and international circles, and are found in over 100 countries.” Dora awarded two recipients for the BPW scholarship, Miranda Aelick and Samantha Cirillo.
While Scholarships and Bursaries awarded at the 42nd Sault College event continue to financially support students in their quest for higher education, the practical application of a college education is priceless.
Congratulations to the 240 Sault College 2015 student recipients of Scholarships, Bursaries and Awards, and to the generous donors who support college students. Dr. Common hopes for a day when financial concerns are no longer a barrier or impediment to higher education. Until a day when Canadian education mirrors the Brazilian system of a fully funded post-secondary ride, financial bursaries and scholarships continue to be meaningful ways for community,corporate & private donors to support student dreams. Dreams where education,life and an ever-changing world economy intersect. Innovation.Student-Centred.Collaboration.Excellence. Sault College. A person can find their vision there.