They’ve been there before, and now they’re helping younger women achieve their post-secondary education goals.
Each year, the Comox Valley branch of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) presents $1,000 bursaries to two Comox Valley graduates who are pursuing post-secondary education, and this year, the group honoured Carly Paterson and Chelsey Olsen.
Paterson is going into the fourth year of her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from Vancouver Island University this September.
The program is offered in partnership with North Island College (NIC), and she is able to take night classes at NIC, which she finds a great fit, as she has two young children and is working as an on-call education assistant.
“They make it so that it’s for people who are working or have kids,” she said.
Paterson, who has her education assistant certificate, is also working toward her Human Services diploma. She wants to go on to get her teaching degree, with a focus on special education.
Paterson decided to go back to school because, with two young children, her family would need the second income, and she fell in love with school.
“I just realized with having the kids and my family, I knew I was going to have to work,” she said.
Paterson feels teaching is a perfect fit.
“I’ve always loved teaching my own kids and explaining things to them,” she said. “The education assistant program really suited me. I’d heard it was a really good program … it offers a lot of life skills, communication skills. I just sort of enjoyed school so much that I wanted to continue and get into teaching, and thankfully VIU offered the degree program at NIC.”
Olsen graduated from Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School last year, and she just finished her first year of an education degree at Trinity Western University (TWU) in Langley.
Olsen, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Education degree with minors in human kinetics and biology, has been playing basketball at TWU on a partial scholarship.
“I’m looking forward to integrating my love of teaching and sports together one day,” she said. “I’m hoping to do some coaching, and with teaching, I’m hoping to go overseas after I’ve done my degree to get kids involved in sports and do some travelling while I’m at it.”
Olsen says her first year went really well, and she liked the smaller classes and the chance to get to know her classmates and professors, and she really enjoyed playing basketball.
“It’s a really supportive place,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to going back next year. It was a really good transition for me, going from here to there. School went exceptionally well, and I grew a lot.”