Elizabeth Cormier – New Brunswick
Elizabeth Cormier left school at the age of 18 because she was pregnant. School was not important to her – until the day she became a mother. She came to the realization she had responsibilities as a parent and no education. Cormier obtained work, but nothing that paid well, and it was hard living on little money. She did not want her daughter to be in the same situation, so she made her a promise she would finish high school, obtain her GED and go to college. At 35, Cormier decided to go back to school and is now on her way to achieving her goal. In her own words, “I am going to graduate with honours; the honour of creating a better future for myself.”
Karra Dillon – Northwest Territories
Karra Dillon is a young Inuvialuit woman living in her home community of Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. She left school at an early age to start a family and returned to school in 2010 in order to pursue a career. This spring she graduated from the Aboriginal Language and Culture Instructor Program at Aurora College in Inuvik, NT. Dillon came to the program as an emerging speaker and has worked hard to become a very skilled Siglitun Inuvialuktun speaker. Dillon’s love of her language and culture is also expressed through traditional drum dancing. Dillon plans to pursue additional upgrading towards her new goal of entering the Bachelor of Education Program.
Kimberlly (Kim) Nielsen – Nova Scotia
As a single mother of four children, when her youngest was ready to leave for university, Kim Nielsen decided to go back to school. Her first step towards this goal was to enroll at the Queens Adult High School, a decision that ultimately changed her life. As a student she stood out due to her dedication, her leadership qualities and her commitment; she will graduate in June 2012 with honours. Nielsen participated in a wide range of activities ranging from fundraising to volunteering in a technology mentoring program in a seniors’ residence. She plans to attend the Continuing Care Program at a Nova Scotia Community College. Nielsen will no doubt thrive in the health care profession as she is a nurturing, trustworthy, talented individual with a sparkling personality.
Annie Neglak – Nunavut
Annie Neglak spent her early years growing up as her ancestors had for many years – on the land near the outpost camp of Bathurst Inlet, in western Nunavut. Separated from her family and sent away to residential school, she was denied an education because she was considered “too old”. Instead, she was put to work at the school. Neglak always desired not only to right this personal wrong, but also to advocate for her people. In her late fifties, she began the journey toward literacy. Neglak completed Adult Basic Education and then enrolled in the Social Services Worker Program at Nunavut Arctic College. She continued to return to Adult Basic Education for upgrades that allowed her to complete her college diploma. Neglak has become a passionate promoter of literacy. As an elder, she is a role model to all Inuit who struggle with adversity, and continues to gives back to her people.