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Scanlon honoured for helping students

Thursday December 20, 2012
Leona Scanlan, centre front, was honoured by past and present NNEC postsecondary students and educators from Lakehead University, Conferation College and Oshki.

Past and present Anishinawbe post secondary students took the opportunity of the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (NNEC) annual Christmas dinner to honour Leona Scanlon for her work as an education councillor.

“I had my ups and downs during the four years I was in university, and through it all my great supporter was Leona and her team of post-secondary councilors,” said Archie Mekanak of Sandy Lake First Nation, who now works as a Regional Aboriginal Community Coordinator at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

Scanlon was presented with matching moccasins and gauntlets in recognition of the 14 years she has spent as a postsecondary education councillor with NNEC.

Over those years she has supported over 1000 successful students through their post-secondary education paths in Thunder Bay.

“Education sparks creativity, it motivates us and teaches us to think for ourselves,” said Harry Kenequanash. “Leona’s encouraging words and the dedication she has shown to students meant a lot. Because of her encouragement I graduated from university in 2010.”

The sentiments expressed by Mekanak and Kenequanash were echoed by current post secondary students at the dinner.

Lydia Big George, who is in the final year of a distance-education public administration degree from Ryerson University, said the challenges facing students such as her who have families and jobs to take care of on top of school are difficult.

Big George said the support of NNEC’s postsecondary councilors is important in giving students the push to continue what they started.

“It’s been a really long haul, but throughout my last few years Leona has supported me, and I think that’s what pushed me to keep going, knowing all the support that is behind me,” she said.

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