Conestoga College student Geri Duguid is the winner of a 2008 Aboriginal Education Incentive Award from Canada Post.
Geri is a second-year Social Services Program at the college. She was presented her award on Monday November 17 as kick-off to "Celebrating Diversity at Conestoga College: International Education Week". The presentation will be a part of a celebration of cultural diversity at Conestoga. Making the presentation of a $1,000 cheque was Garry Holt, Manager of Collection and Delivery for Kitchener.
A member of the Turtle clan, Cayuga tribe of the Six Nations, Geri is one of 10 children and was born in Detroit, the daughter of a steelworker.
Geri spent the first eight years of her life residing in several communities on both sides of the border. Her family then settled permanently in Canada, residing on the Six Nations Reserve, near Brantford.
After being accepted into the Secretarial Science program at the then Ryerson Polytechnic Institute in Toronto she gave birth to her first child and made the decision to withdraw her application from Ryerson and to remain at home to raise her son.
When her son was two, Geri successfully completed a key-punch course and entered the working world where she remained for 30 years, during which time she married and raised two more children. In 2006 Geri's life circumstances changed and she needed to become self-supporting. She returned to school, gaining acceptance into Conestoga in 2007. She hopes to attain a Bachelor's degree in social work and eventually, a Masters in social work and native studies. Geri is a proud Respect Ambassador at the College, and is featured in the Respect Campaign's "Understanding our Students" video.
Geri is one of 16 winners of the award, from across Canada. Approximately four winners per Canada Post division per year are selected. She was one of the winners from the Huron-Rideau (most of Ontario, with the exception of Metropolitan Ontario and a portion of Quebec on the east side of the Ottawa River) region of Canada Post.
The awards celebrate the motivation and determination of those who have conquered personal, economic or social adversity in the pursuit of learning. $1,000 scholarships are awarded to individuals who have returned to and successfully completed one full year of high school and to individuals who have successfully completed one full-year of post-secondary education, including vocational or skills training.
Canada Post General Manager of Human Performance Excellence Bruno Cadieux notes "this award is different from a scholarship. Scholarships focus on marks and achievements but this award focuses on the human qualities of determination and perseverance. We want to help people who know they need an education to build a brighter future."
Mr. Cadieux added: "Canada Post is committed to undertaking measures to achieve a representative workforce which reflects the Canadian labour market, while maintaining fair, equitable and accessible employment policies for all."
Contact: Ryan Connell, Student Life Programmer, email@example.com, 519-748-5220 ext. 2373.
Contact: Tom Creech, Corporate Communications - Canada Post - London, 519-457-5282
Original story posted by Canada Post
Photo courtesy of Liz Koenig, Conestoga Journalism student