Donald Klaehn of Kitchener, a student in Conestoga's two-year Paramedic diploma program, has been named winner of the 2009 Joan Homer Student Leadership Award. Homer was formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology of Ontario (now known as Colleges Ontario). Klaehn will receive the $1,000 honour from Homer on Monday, February 23 at the annual Colleges Ontario conference in Toronto.
The award is sponsored by the Student Access and Success Coordinating Committee (SASCC) of Colleges Ontario. It recognizes a student who fosters leadership and growth in others, and who assists student colleagues and/or the college of enrolment advance their goals. The aim is to celebrate the accomplishments of an outstanding individual who demonstrates the capacity to lead or influence change outside the formal roles of student government or student advocate. Even though all Ontario public colleges can submit nominees, only one award is presented each year.
Klaehn is in his second year of the Paramedic diploma program at Conestoga. As a student mentor, he has given of his time and skills to improve the self-confidence and progress of first-year students who experienced difficulties with program content and expectations.
He has been a valued assistant to the instructor in a self-defense course related to paramedic practice, as well as volunteering to lead extra study sessions in selected topics for his colleagues.
Furthermore, he is a valued contributor to classroom exercises, projects and discussions, and brings in a wealth of observations and experiences gleaned from a wide array of volunteer activities with organizations such as the Canadian Red Cross, Community Justice Initiatives, the New Hamburg Park Patrol and the Kitchener Minor Hockey League.
He also serves as a student representative on Conestoga's Paramedic Program Advisory Committee (PAC). Conestoga's PACs are groups of community and educational representatives and practitioners associated with Conestoga programs of study. These committees provide information and insight to Conestoga on matters associated with relevant occupational skills, appropriate curriculum content, and the assessment of current and future occupational trends.
Klaehn will receive the Joan Homer Student Leadership Award at a luncheon reception at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, site of the Colleges Ontario conference.