Aboriginal students receive Tools for Success at Owen Sound Campus
March 15, 2013

Elder, student and staff member at Aboriginal youth conference

Left to right: Shirley John, Elder from Saugeen First Nation, Deanna Pedoniquotte, Marine Navigation student, and Marnie Speck, Indigenous Student Advisor, at the Tools for Success youth conference at the Owen Sound Campus on Feb. 26.

On Feb. 26, Indigenous Services at the Owen Sound Campus held Tools for Success – Secondary to Postsecondary Transition, a conference for Aboriginal youth.

The event was co-organized with the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation as a way to help encourage a stronger representation of Indigenous students among colleges and universities.

The objective of this student-focused conference was to increase motivation for secondary students to complete high school, enhance their self-confidence for postsecondary success and familiarize them with the college system and its expectations, while providing exposure to different program areas for consideration.

Many Indigenous students are ill-prepared to succeed at the postsecondary level, resulting in graduation rates well below those of non-Indigenous students. Low retention rates can be attributed to factors such as moving into a new environment, lack of community and understanding, and adapting to a new educational setting. Educational background itself is perhaps the most impactful factor. The change in education from rural communities, particularly reserves, to urban centers can be drastic for students.

The conference was also an opportunity for Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation high school students to visit Georgian’s Owen Sound Campus and attend vital life skill workshops, and to familiarize themselves with the campus. Students got a first-hand glimpse of what postsecondary education consists of and what possibilities it can offer for their future.

Students had the chance attend a number of helpful workshops, including:

� How to ask for help

� Mock OCAS application

� Everything you need to know about scholarships, bursaries and awards

� Apprenticeships and trades

� What dates are important

� Aboriginal Student Services – how can we help you

The event was a success and the hope is to run the conference again next year and to include Saugeen First Nation and urban Aboriginal youth in the Owen Sound area.

For more information, email Marnie Speck, Indigenous Student Advisor, or call ext. 2096.