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Camosun Honours 41 Adult Learners in May 15 Awards Ceremony

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May 26, 2008

Rebecca Brand; winner of the Chuck Dowdeswell awardStruggling with dyslexia, Rebecca Brand did not believe she was capable of learning. When she began taking upgrading courses at Camosun she started at about a Grade 9 level of English.

Through the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Rebecca met Camosun teacher Mark Kunen, and experienced a major breakthrough that allowed her to succeed in her studies all the way up to the English 12 level.

This September, Rebecca advances to the university transfer level and is pursuing an Associate of Arts Degree in Creative Writing. “I thank Mark for believing he could teach me,” says Rebecca, “and for helping me believe I could learn.”

Rebecca was one of 41 students honoured at Camosun’s recent awards ceremony for the School of Access and First Nations Education, receiving the Chuck Dowdeswell Award “for academic upgrading students who demonstrate academic success while conquering adversity through diligence.” While attending Camosun, Rebecca looked after her two daughters and suffered the loss of her father and an uncle. See all Awards and Recipients

“We know that 38% of Camosun students start in Access,” explained Camosun president Dr. Liz Ashton in opening remarks at the awards ceremony. “Many of these students are also balancing full-time work and parenting responsibilities, so their success is truly inspiring.”

The May 15 awards ceremony also honoured nine outstanding First Nations students, including Lynn Ferguson who received the First Nations Studies Achievement award. Lynn graduates this June from the First Nations Family Support Worker program, with straight A+ grades and a grade point average exceeding 8.5. Lynn came to Camosun to be a positive role model for her daughter, who is also at Camosun working on completing her grade 12 diploma. Lynn is now doing her final practicum at Hill House, supporting Aboriginal people as they transition to a better life.

More than 1500 adult learners attend Camosun each year for upgrading courses in all levels of English, math, sciences, computer training and English as a second language, as well as programs for employment preparation and career exploration. Camosun also customizes upgrading courses to lead directly into career programs, such as business administration, culinary arts and engineering technology.

Camosun’s First Nations Education department serves about 500 Aboriginal learners from more than 50 Nations including Métis and Inuit groups. The College offers Indigenous programs in many areas including upgrading, career training and university transfer, although Aboriginal students are enrolled in programs across the College.

View photos of the event

School of Access

First Nations Education

Awards & Recipients

Awards for Students in Academic Upgrading

“Moving Forward” Award
Kasandra Alberti • Paul Nesbitt • Beverly Rodowski

Adult Basic Education Association of BC Award
Anita Mesman • Andrew Smithson

Brett and Grant L. Fisher Memorial Award
Yumiko Hirami

Chuck Dowdeswell Award
Rebecca Brand • Katie Hilborn • Victoria Marsh

Colin Montesano Memorial Award
Azam Kashfi • Renae Reznicek

Lynne Richards Scholarship
Patrick Pouponneau

“Way to Go” Award
Rebecca Clarke • Renea Cook • Michelle Forrester • Josefina Jacobsen

Awards for Students in Better Employment Strategies & Techniques

Joan Looy Award
Kevin Barnard • Susan Creviston • Rhonda Evans

Awards for Students in Employment Training and Preparation

Pamela Vickers Achievement Award
Jordan D. Claxton • Christopher Pavlicic • Bernice Wilson

Awards for Students in English Language Development (ELD)

BC TEAL (Teaching English to Adult Learners) Wilma Hunter Award
Carol Lai

Camosun College International Award
Yumiko Tsuji • (Cindy) Jian Ping Yuan

ELD Merit Award
Hoa Nguyen • Alberto Blandon Osorio • Ken Zhen

ELD Writer’s Award
Min Wei • Erika Kato

Joan Hosty Award
(Emily) Chao Cai • Nabeela Chaudhry

Awards for Students in First Nations Programs

Saanich Indian School Board Award
Rebecca Wilson

Saanich Indian School Board/Camosun College Affiliation Award
Helena Norris

Songhees Nation/Camosun College Affiliation Award
Gregory Forsberg

Victoria Native Friendship Centre/Camosun College Affiliation Award
Lisa Ordell

Tsa Qwa Supp Award for Nuu-Chah-Nulth Students
Arliss Daniels • Roxy-Merl Jones

Métis Nation BC Award
Jacqueline Hodgson • Maxime Lepine

First Nations Studies Achievement Award
Lynn Ferguson

Photos from the event

Last updated: December 21, 2009 1:15 pm

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