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Jennifer-Lynn Fiddler: A Success Story

Jul 12, 2016

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By Wendy Weeks and James Oloo

It is that time of the year when we celebrate the graduation of our students and clients who, after hard work and perseverance, get to cross the stage and receive their diplomas amid cheers and applause from loved ones and well-wishers. While many news articles and reports about graduation often emphasize numbers of students who graduate, beyond the numbers are faces and personal stories of lived experiences.

On June 6, 2016, Jennifer-Lynn Fiddler, a GDI Training and Employment-funded client, graduated with a Business certificate from North West College in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. She will be going back to school in the fall for further studies towards her diploma in business. Jennifer-Lynn plans to apply for additional funding from Gabriel Dumont Institute.

When asked why she decided to pursue post-secondary education, Jennifer-Lynn noted that “I wanted to further myself. High school diploma is only for basic careers. I wanted a better future for myself.” She continues, “I already knew what I wanted prior to going through GDI Training and Employment for funding. Plus, Wendy Weeks (employment counsellor) clearly and concisely explained to me what the program entailed and allowed me to understand what I was getting into.”

Jennifer-Lynn’s goal is to become a certified accountant. “Working with numbers has always been an interest of mine. With my attention to detail, (accounting) makes for an excellent career choice.” She points out that “I got into the program to have a better future. I am on my way!”

Jennifer-Lynn, who expressed her appreciation to Gabriel Dumont Institute and to her employment counsellor Wendy Weeks, was among the top on her class and was chosen to give the student address at the graduation ceremony. Below is an excerpt from her speech.

“What a year it has been, but here we are, ready to graduate. When I decided to go back to school, I never imagined that it would bring me here, speaking to all of you. We worked hard to get to this point, but we didn’t do it by ourselves. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the following people: our families, our instructors, our sponsors, and North West College, for without your support and encouragement we would not have made it this far.

When I was young, I went through a few very tough years where many things happened that had a very negative influence on my outlook at life and learning. It took me a long time to realize and work through the effects these events had on me, but long story short, I became afraid; afraid of the future, afraid of the unknown. To those who know me, it may come as a surprise that I am very shy and insecure, but I learned to shield those fears, doubts and insecurities with a larger than life attitude. I virtually retreated from life, the world, and from reality, and there I stayed safe and secure.

Until a year ago, I was content to remain this way. When I made the decision to join this program, I had no idea of the monumental impact it would have on my life. When I sat in that classroom for the first time, I could feel the passion and drive for learning. My first week, I became driven by that same passion to learn, and I realized this is a classroom for adults; everyone is equal, and I am in charge of what I do.

Looking back, I can probably pin down the point where my drive to succeed in school started to dwindle. My fears, doubts, and insecurities drove my love for learning into the ground and kept it there for years. I failed Grade 12; and convinced myself that my life was going nowhere. I knew I was stuck in a rut unless I could go back to school and complete Grade 12.

I then returned to school and earned my Grade 12 from Wesmor Public High School in Prince Albert. After that I got a job was content to stay a cashier for the rest of my life because I was afraid of trying for something better. I doubted my ability to reach out and grab what I wanted for myself. I thought, “Who am I to dare?” I lacked the confidence to see a better future for myself.

But then … I dared and here I am.

Today, I want to let you know that if you don’t dare to do better; if you don’t strive for your dreams, the future you want will be hard to find. The certificate in business program has not only taught me business, accounting, and economics, but it has also enabled me to become more aware internal strength, perseverance, and confidence. It has given me the courage to expand my horizons. I went into this class lost, purposeless, alone, and afraid. I now appear before you confident, self-assured, and driven for a future I can finally see with both eyes open.

I let my fears hold me back for too long and I am finally breaking free from the invisible shackles that held me down. Each and every one of you has the capacity to do the same. Be beyond the best you can be and don’t allow anything to get in your way. If you want something, don’t wait; reach out and grab it with both hands and eyes wide open.

Thank you.”

Congratulations Jennifer-Lynn!

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GDI is a Saskatchewan-based educational, employment and cultural institute serving Métis across the province

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