Determined learners never done studying

Four Western students were among 16 learners from a variety of educational institutions and agencies who received Adult Learner Awards from the London Council for Adult Education in May.

Donna Moore, a career counsellor and mature student advisor in Western’s Student Success Centre: Careers, Leadership and Experience, profiled each of the winners.

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Shawn Johnston

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Shawn Johnston knows there is a calling for more Indigenous people in the field of social work. And he is trying to answer that call in his own way.

Many First Nations communities are plagued with crime, poverty and addictions. As an Ojibway from Couchiching First Nations, Johnston, currently in his fourth year in the Bachelor of Social Work (Honors) program at King’s University College, hopes to work in the field of addictions and help with problems he is all too familiar with.

He is an active member of the Western community, volunteering with Indigenous Services to help with monthly lunches, guest speakers and the Track and Field Day. Johnston has also been involved with the First Nations Student Association, Social Work Student Action Committee and, most recently, the Idle No More movement. He has spoken to numerous classrooms, social events and conferences across Canada sharing the personal story of his battle with addiction. Through this sharing, he provides a message of hope and helps raise awareness.

Johnston wants to inspire others by letting others know that with determination they can also reach their goals.

Carol Deagle

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Twenty years ago, Carol Deagle began her journey as a mature student, but the path has not always been smooth.

She worked full time while trying to rebound from a failed marriage, all while successfully raising three young children on her own. At the same time, she volunteered at several organizations throughout the London community, including the Congress of Black Women, where she serves as correspondence secretary on the executive board. She has been involved in the Building Community Leadership Capacity Project as well as the Single Women in Motherhood (SWIM) Training Program. The latter was done along with Annmarie Ricketts, a friend and current executive director, as they saw a need in the London community to empower single women to improve their lives.

Deagle, a Global Development Studies student at Huron University College, strongly supports university education, as she has personally experienced the benefits it provides. Her academic pursuits have resulted in being gainfully employed for nearly a quarter century as a federal public servant at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

She believes in the continuous learning culture, and she makes every effort to instill the value of education in the lives of her family and friends.

In the future, Deagle hopes to obtain a master’s degree in Global Development Studies, which would equip her to pursue a career at the United Nations where she would be more involved in impacting positive change in people’s lives on an international scale. In 2012, she graduated from King’s University College with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

Gordon Rogerson

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Gordon Rogerson exemplifies the true qualities of a lifelong learner.

In fall 2011, Rogerson enrolled in Western Project Management. The program is comprised of four 12-week courses, accredited by the Project Management Institute. The courses are demanding and involve weekly classes, assignments, team projects, tests, exams and time, especially when combined with a full-time job. In 2012, Rogerson not only completed the certificate, but wrote the exam and earned the Certified Associate in Project Management credentials from the Project Management Institute. These credentials are recognized globally and considered one of the most in-demand credentials in Canada.

This year, Rogerson enrolled in the Western Certificate in Management, an eight-course program. This certificate is accredited by the Canadian Institute of Management.

“This course really got the learning spark in my brain blazing away again,” said Rogerson, now a computer specialist at Western’s Retail Services. “Now, I’m just trying to decide what path to take. I’m already looking at another certification to take while we’re in between classes this summer. I also contacted Royal Roads about some long term goals. What’s that quote: ‘It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly.’”

Margaret Irwin Kobes
SAGE Student of the Year

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Margaret Irwin Kobes received the SAGE Student of the Year award for her support of the SAGE Society for Mature Students at the Excellence in Leadership Awards earlier this year.

After a 35-year hiatus, Kobes returned to the classroom at Huron University College in the Masters of Theological Studies program.  When awarded the Archbishop Michael Peers Prize in Biblical Languages for the highest mark in either Hebrew and/or Greek, she knew being a ‘non-traditionally aged’ student did not need to hold her back.

Two of Kobes’ independent study accomplishments stand out.

She completed an independent study on a Latin medieval manuscript known as The Millennium Psalter from King’s University College Rare Book Collection. This was the first ‘hands-on’ study of this rare manuscript, and Kobes was able to provide previously unknown information about this text. To reach this goal, she had to understand Latin, and Latin abbreviations, and completed her own crash course to brush up what she studied in the 1960s.

Her independent study, The Shared Histories of Huron University College and the Church of St. John the Evangelist, London, completed last term, was submitted and accepted for the Huron University College 150th Anniversary Conference, The House That Isaac Built.

Kobes is quick to acknowledge the understanding, encouragement and support she has received from the Faculty of Theology, especially Gary Badcock, who encouraged her to begin this journey. The Student Success Centre at Western University and the SAGE Society for Mature Students have played significant roles in her achievement.

Nearing age 75, Kobes expects to complete her degree in 2014.