I am Kade

Student Services supports learner on journey to become authentic self

I am Kade

Kade Lavigne achieved his High School Diploma through the Adult Learning Program.

“It’s important that people understand the difficulties that come with being transgender. Not everyone is open about it, not everyone accepts us for who we are; but I don’t want to hide. I am Kade. This is who I am!” ~ Kade Lavigne, ALP grad

Fast Fact

The Adult Learning Program is a no cost way for adults to achieve a High School Diploma. The program offers full-time, part-time and online study options. Existing Grade 11 and 12 credits may count towards an applicant’s diploma as well as prior learning obtained through on-the-job training, work and life experience, personal studies and volunteer activities.

Kade says the support he received — particularly from Student Services — helped open his eyes to what he was capable of doing.

Isolated, tormented and misunderstood; Kade Lavigne says that his high school years were filled with panic attacks, failing grades and a desire to be anywhere but in a classroom.

“I was having multiple panic attacks a day. I felt my teachers didn’t understand what I was going through. I asked for help many times, but never really got what I needed. I was failing and cutting class.” On his second attempt at Grade 11, Kade says that his anxiety and depression — coupled with intense bullying for being gay — became too much. He decided to leave school.

Approaching 30, Kade says he found himself wanting more. “I was tired of working minimum wage jobs. People looked at me differently. I knew I could do better, and wanted to be a better version of myself.”

Motivated by a loved one, Kade started looking into his options. “I heard a lot of great things about NSCC and the Adult Learning Program.” As he researched the option to realize a High School Diploma, he discovered it was the change he was looking for. “I knew that if I did this, it would give me the confidence I wanted.”

Being authentic

Kade’s desire to return to school was part of a much larger journey to live life as his authentic self. Since leaving high school, the New Brunswick-born grad had begun the process of transitioning from female to male. As he made plans to return to the classroom as an adult, Kade admits that memories of high school bullying came rushing back, while more recent encounters with transphobia left him worried about new pressures he may face.

“It’s important that people understand the difficulties that come with being transgender. Not everyone is open about it like I am, and not everyone accepts us for who we are; but I don’t want to hide. I am Kade. This is who I am!” 

As he started studies at IT Campus, Kade realized that to achieve academic success, he would need to, once again, reach out for assistance. “I was never book smart. I needed all the help I could get.”

While incidents in grade school left him feeling misunderstood and ignored, Kade says the support he received — particularly from Student Services — helped open his eyes to what he was capable of doing.

“They helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life and guided me along the right track. I hadn’t had that kind of support before.” He adds, “The Wellness and Counselling services helped me get through my first year.”

As he neared the end Adult Learning Program, Kade says staff in Student Advising and Career Services helped him plan his next move: applying for the Social Services program. “They helped me find the program that was right for me, and the credits I needed to apply.”

Kade’s journey continues. “I still deal with anxiety and depression, but I have a lot more confidence now.” When he returns to classes in the fall, Kade says one of those goals is to share his journey with others. “I think that it’s important to be open. No one should be ashamed of who they are.”

He adds, “I struggle with people not seeing me as the same person I was before I transitioned; but, I am. I may look and sound different, but I’m still the same on the inside. We’re all people, and we deserve respect.”

31/07/18

“It’s important that people understand the difficulties that come with being transgender. Not everyone is open about it, not everyone accepts us for who we are; but I don’t want to hide. I am Kade. This is who I am!” ~ Kade Lavigne, ALP grad

Fast Fact

The Adult Learning Program is a no cost way for adults to achieve a High School Diploma. The program offers full-time, part-time and online study options. Existing Grade 11 and 12 credits may count towards an applicant’s diploma as well as prior learning obtained through on-the-job training, work and life experience, personal studies and volunteer activities.

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