I was in a local supermarket on a Saturday and came upon one of the Vice Principals at Dakota Collegiate, Allie Hassin (now at Glenlawn Collegiate, pictured to the left with students.) Allie introduced me to a young adult of Aboriginal background. They explained that they were getting some food before heading back to Dakota for a study session.
Curious, I contacted Allie the next Monday and asked about the student. Allie told me he had reached out to help Daniel (the student's name has been changed to protect his identity) study on weekends to help him get his high school diploma. That is citizenship.
Daniel attended Dakota Collegiate during the 2013/2014 school year as a mature student because he believes that education is an important piece of his development. For numerous reasons, he was unable to complete his secondary education in the typical four-year pattern.
Daniel had the courage to return to school as a mature student with the hope of becoming a graduate and possibly bettering his life and the lives of his girlfriend and his young son. That is engagement.
Life as a mature student was extremely difficult for Daniel and he described his experiences as a young father in one of his final writing assignments:
"Love is the greatest feeling that you have when your child comes into this world and this doesn't change no matter what your age. … What is in place (educationally) for young parents is limited. We do have educational places, but not a lot. I went to work at Johnston Staffing working in warehouses moving boxes from one place to another before realizing that school was important. I returned to school at Dakota Collegiate but it was challenging being out of school and then trying to go back. English and History were very time consuming and it was hard managing my time between school, family and work. No one ever taught me how to manage my time and stress. Work was easy, I had a list of things to do. But school continued day after day and the afterhours of school were tough."
Despite a difficult year and despite nearly not completing the required work, Daniel spent exam week, evenings and a full weekend with staff at Dakota in order to finish his requirements and earn his high school diploma. That is engagement.
Thank you Allie and congratulations Daniel!
Changing Worlds | Changer le Monde