In recognition of National Aboriginal Month (June) and National Aboriginal Day (June 21), the St. Lawrence College Foundation is pleased to announce two new bursaries to help Aboriginal students pursue post-secondary education at St. Lawrence College. These gifts are in addition to the Metis National Bursary award which was established in 2006 and was one of the first awards that specifically identified support for First Nations students. St. Lawrence College now holds over $65,000 in endowments directed specifically to First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.
These gifts speak to the close ties that St. Lawrence College has with the Aboriginal population within our communities of Brockville, Cornwall, and Kingston. A new donation to the Brown’s First Nations Opportunity Award will recognize Aboriginal students at St. Lawrence College whose parent and/or grandparent were survivors of the Indian Residential Schools. This gift was made by James Brown, and comes on the heels of the Truth and Reconciliation report, released on June 2, 2015. As well, Tim Colfe has created an award, The Patricia and Bernard Colfe Aboriginal First Generation Bursary, in honour of his parents; this award offers a bursary annually to a full-time Aboriginal student at any St. Lawrence College campus.
“I have always found that a little bit of help can make a huge difference,” said Tim Colfe. “This new bursary supports Ontario Aboriginal students and recognizes my late mother’s interest in aboriginal art, culture and history which she shared for more than 20 years working as a volunteer guide at the Museum of Man and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.”
“We need not hesitate a moment longer waiting until we know the answer. Walk the path together, now, today knowing we will discover it, together,” said James Brown and Joan Lee.
The increased funding is an important step in reaching out to the Aboriginal population, according to Mary Ann Lyons, Coordinator of Aboriginal Services/Aboriginal Student Advisor at St. Lawrence College. “The Aboriginal population faces many barriers to attaining post-secondary education,” she said. “With this increase in bursary opportunities, hopefully more will take the step to furthering their education and achieving their goals.”
SLC is committed to supporting Aboriginal students with a dedicated team of Aboriginal Student Advisors who help with the transition to college by providing information and support, as well as dedicated friendly spaces (Eagle Learning Café) where Aboriginal students can go for relaxation, cultural connections, socialization, and study.