As part of Hooked on School Days 2019, the Chamber interviewed one of the recipients of scholarships awarded through Operation Back to School in 2018. Sandra Auclair-Tremblay told us about how the program helped her persist and offered her advice to young people thinking about leaving school.
Hooked on School Days 2019
Hooked on School Days, taking place February 11 to 15, is an invitation for all members of society to help promote school retention and educational success.
The Chamber has been supporting school retention for the past 23 years, in particular through Operation Back to School. Since the program’s beginnings, over 4,200 business people have gone back to school to share their experience and passion with close to 160,000 high school students and encourage them to stay in school.
A role model
Sandra Auclair-Tremblay received one of the stay-in-school scholarships worth $1,500 awarded through Operation Back to School in 2018. At the time, the young woman was in secondary 5 and had just been accepted to Collège de Maisonneuve. The scholarship helped her pay her tuition and pursue her studies. Today Sandra has even bigger dreams: going to university, getting her own apartment and finding a good job. In a nutshell, her future looks bright.
How did Operation Back to School help you stay in school?
Sandra Auclair-Tremblay: Operation Back to School showed me that perseverance is the key to success. The two speakers inspired me to finish high school and go on to CEGEP. The scholarship helped me pay for my tuition, books and supplies. Plus, the people at my Carrefour jeunesse-emploi and the support I received from my career counsellor, Valérie Brais, helped me stay on track. I am so grateful to them.
What were the most important lessons you learned from the talks you attended?
I attended two talks about staying in school. The speakers were moving and talked about life’s big challenges. I realized that I shouldn’t give up on school, regardless of money or family problems. I had to show determination to achieve my goal, which was to finish secondary 5 and go to CEGEP.
What are your plans for the future?
I am in the Springboard to DCS program at Collège de Maisonneuve. I want to pass science for adults to take the shortest route to a university nutrition program. I can picture so many things for my future… university, an apartment, a job and much more. I have dreams and I want to make them come true.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about dropping out of school?
That school can be hard, but the best lies ahead, because you will use what you learn one day, in some situation you encounter. I would tell them to accept as much help as they can from the people around them. And if they don’t help, to get support from the Carrefours jeunesse-emploi, youth centres or others who can help them persevere and graduate.