Going back to school is never an easy decision to make.
For some students, the classroom was a frightening or belittling experience, one they thought they’d left well in their past.
But the desire to escape minimum-wage purgatory is often enough to convince some students to put aside their fears and take the plunge back into academics in favour of what they hope will be a better life for themselves, and often is the case, their families.
On Thursday 150 like-minded students took the next step toward that goal, recognized for completing Confederation College’s academic upgrading program.
The program prepares students who need to boost their skills to get into college and university courses, apprenticeship programs or employment requirements for either a promotion or to land a coveted job.
Trisha Patterson thought her schooling days were behind her. Thirteen years after last leaving the classroom, an injury on the job forced her to switch career paths.
Now enrolled in the college’s business accounting program, Patterson said she was nervous at first, but quickly realized her worry was without merit.
“It was quite nerve-wracking. But everybody was quite receptive and quite welcoming. So within the first few days I felt quite comfortable,” said Patterson, honoured with the Academic and Career Entrance communications award for her efforts.
“What I tried to get out of the program was to get back into the swing of things and be more prepared because I had been out of school for 13 years. I’m just finishing my first semester in business accounting and I found that the academic upgrading program very much prepared me for what was to come in post-secondary (school).”
Confederation College president Jim Madder called it a fantastic day for both the school and its students, but the community of Thunder Bay and all of Northwestern Ontario.
“All of the people who will be marking their accomplishments today never thought they would complete high school equivalency. They often dropped out sometime in the past and had other things occur in their lives,” Madder said.
“To me, this is not just completing high school and working their way through it, it’s generating optimism and hope and a future for them as well.”
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