Checking in with RAYS bursary winners
Travis Sacerty who grew up in Creemore and attended Collingwood Collegiate Institute always preferred working with his hands, learning by doing, rather than reading a textbook.
It was natural for him to choose an apprenticeship program to fulfill his dream of becoming a tool and die maker. His choice was the general machine program at Georgian College in Barrie. By early November he had completed stage one of three eight-week in-school training sessions that are a required part of the three- to five-year apprentice program. “It was different doing it online,” he says, “but I think I pulled it off.” He is now back on the job, commuting daily from Creemore to the Midland tool and die shop of the ZF Automotive Group: TRW Canada. ZF is a large German-based company with different factories throughout the world, The Midland shop specializes in metal components for seat belts. Asked what he liked most about his job, Travis said, “That’s a tough question because I enjoy it all. But in particular, to be at work and learning.” His goal is to get his “red seal” ticket and be a good tool and die maker and continuing to work where he is now. Sacerty wanted to go on record to thank RAYS for what they do to support students and their goals. “Not just with financial support but knowing there is someone there a student can turn to if they have challenges.”
A co-op opportunity with the Wasaga Beach Paramedic and Volunteer Fire Fighters, suggested by her Family Studies teacher, propelled Emma Woodhouse towards a career as a paramedic.
“I was able to tour a paramedic van and realized how cool it was that these first responders could save people’s lives getting them to permanent care.” In Grade 10, learning that Cambrian College offered a really good program, she travelled to Sudbury to attend their open house. Choosing this program here was, “one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”
Like her fellow RAYS bursary winners, the biggest COVID challenge is not being able to meet and get to know other students. It also creates difficulty when doing group projects online. Being a tactile learner, the best part for Emma are the hands-on classes. Woodhouse excelled in sports during her four years at Stayner Collegiate Institute. She continues to work out regularly recognizing that physical and mental fitness are a requirement for the demands of this job. She credits her RAYS mentor for helping to keep her grounded and the $1,000 bursary which covered the cost of her books and school supplies.
Makenna Halliday’s first awareness of Indigenous people was in elementary school when a guest speaker came to talk to her class about indigenous customs and way of life. Several years later, for a Grade 9 geography assignment, she wrote about residential schools. This made her even more aware of the needs of children in protective services. The die was cast. Graduating from Stayner Collegiate Institute, Halliday enrolled in Canadore College’s Indigenous Studies program. On completing this two-year course, she plans to apply to the bridge program at Laurentian University earning, in two additional years, a Bachelor of Social Work. She hopes to work in child protective services with a goal to improve the lives of indigenous youth. She reports that she is really liking the program and that the professors are both helpful and understanding of the difficulties imposed by COVID. More challenging is the social aspect of living in a single room, cooking and eating alone every day. It’s a challenge she hopes to overcome soon – making a move from residence to renting an apartment in a student housing complex where she will be with other students and have a better opportunity to make friends. Halliday will be a natural in working with youth as the favourite of various part-time high school jobs was caring for young children at Devil’s Glen Ski Resort.
by Anna Hobbs, chair of the RAYS communications committee.