Laptop Loan Program helps ALP student

Mature student makes major life change at Marconi Campus

Laptop Loan Program helps ALP student

Debbie Colson, ALP Student at Marconi Campus, says that the Laptop & iPad Loan Program has been essential to allowing her to continue her studies.

“With all of the challenges I’ve faced in my life…I know the key is to focus on what’s ahead and then you can find that inner strength to keep going.” ~ Debbie Colson

Fast Fact

The Laptop & iPad Loan Program started as a pilot at Marconi Campus in 2013. Today, the loan program is offered at no cost to students at 13 campuses. Since the program’s inception, 358 iPads and 880 laptops have been circulated.

After the loss of her husband of 26 years, Debbie Colson made a bold choice and enrolled in the Adult Learning Program at Marconi Campus to obtain her high school diploma.

After 35 years away from the school system, Debbie Colson—mother of three, stepmother to six, and grandmother to 18—made a bold decision to enroll in the Adult Learning Program (ALP) at Marconi Campus to obtain her high school diploma.

“I quit school in Grade 8,” says Debbie. “I went back in Grade 10, but it didn’t go well. My personal life at home wasn’t the best. I had been bullied my whole life and I didn’t want to be in that environment again.”

However, when her husband of 26 years, chef and restaurateur Brian Colson, passed away, Debbie knew that she needed to make a change.

“I needed a job that would make me happy like Brian was when he was cooking; and one that would help with our finances,” says Debbie.

Making a move

Six months later, a friend asked Debbie if she knew about the Career Counselling Services offered by the local YMCA.

“I thought it was just a place to swim, but it’s so much more. Staff at the YMCA got to know me and were very sympathetic to my situation. They told me, ‘if you want to get out in the workforce, you need to have your Grade 12 education.’”

As she walked towards the entrance of Marconi Campus on her first day of class, Debbie says that many familiar feelings started to rush back.

“It was the strangest feeling,” she explains. “Coming back to school brought back some painful memories. I was petrified. I thought, if I go through the doors, there’s no turning back. If I don’t go through the doors, I may never go back. But from the moment I pushed open that door to the campus, I’ve felt at ease here.”

Tech support

Debbie says that she faced a steep learning curve, especially with computers. “I’d only recently learned how to send and receive email. Now, everything in class requires a computer.”

Because her computer at home was unreliable, a friend loaned Debbie a laptop to complete her homework and assignments. She eventually saved enough tips from a part-time job to purchase her own, but it broke not long after.

Debbie was relying on pen and paper to take notes when a classmate let her know about the loan program at the campus library. She says the Laptop & iPad Loan Program has been essential to allowing her to continue her studies. “Without it, I would be lost. I don’t think I’d be able to do my work.”

With graduation in sight, Debbie says that she will be continuing on at Marconi Campus. “I want to finish ALP, get my Grade 12 and move on to something better that will give me some stability in my life. Something I can retire on.”

She has her heart set on the Social Services program.

As Debbie looks back on her journey, she wants others considering the same path to know how important it is to make the decision and keep moving forward. “With all of the challenges I’ve faced in my life…I know the key is to focus on what’s ahead and then you can find that inner strength to keep going.”

Her advice to others: “Go for it. It’s the best thing you could do!”

 

01/06/17

“With all of the challenges I’ve faced in my life…I know the key is to focus on what’s ahead and then you can find that inner strength to keep going.” ~ Debbie Colson

Fast Fact

The Laptop & iPad Loan Program started as a pilot at Marconi Campus in 2013. Today, the loan program is offered at no cost to students at 13 campuses. Since the program’s inception, 358 iPads and 880 laptops have been circulated.

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