Sara Thorn
Ascent Magazine

Sara Thorn has an affinity for working with children. She has been a Parks and Recreation instructor for the last two summers. She volunteers with the Girl Guides as a Spark Unit leader, and is involved with her church’s youth group. Pursuing a career in Early Childhood Education seems like a natural choice for this dedicated teen. And to help her pursue her dream, she has been awarded the Centennial College Alumni Association Tuition Scholarship.

“The scholarship is really nice to have,” Thorn, 19, enthuses. “It helps you financially. It’s paid for so I can focus on school.” The first-year ECE student applied for the scholarship, due to her father, Doug Thorn’s status as a Centennial alumnus. He attended Centennial’s architectural technology program from 1973 to 1976, and currently runs his own successful business as a specialized building envelope consultant. He says he was happy to learn that Sara won the scholarship. “It’s great, because it will definitely be a help for us,” he says.

The scholarship is valued at $6,000. The student will initially receive up to $2,000 towards tuition, with a maximum of two more payments in future years. To remain eligible for the scholarship, students must maintain an average of 70 per cent with no failed courses. All prospective students are welcome to apply for the scholarship; however, preference is given to students whose parents are Centennial alumni.

Sara says the scholarship was a bonus, and certainly not the main reason that she chose Centennial’s Early Childhood Education program. “I knew I wanted to go to college because I’m more of a hands-on person,” she explains. She had also received a lot of positive feedback from friends and family about the reputation of Centennial’s ECE program. In addition, she liked how the courses were structured.

Doug Thorn says he was happy that Sara ultimately chose Centennial, but let her decide which school she wanted to attend. “I wanted her to be responsible enough to make the decision,” he says. “In the end, it was the school that offered her the widest range of choices and the most flexibility.”

Since she began classes this past September, Sara has enjoyed her program. She says she loves the one-on-one attention students receive, and that the teachers are available for phone calls, emails, and in-person office visits if students have questions or concerns. “The teachers are really friendly. They help you however they can,” she says. “If you don’t understand something, you can clarify it.”

She is also impressed that her teachers either currently practice in the field, or have practiced in the field. “They have the job experience as well as the knowledge to teach you,” Sara says. She says her teachers provide “words of wisdom that will help you go further.”

Sara says it was a gradual decision to study Early Childhood Education. She says that through her Recreation and Parks and volunteer activities, “I figured, I like doing this, I can help people.” She says her studies at Centennial give her knowledge that she can bring to her extracurricular activities. “The things I am learning at school I can relate back to what I am doing,” she says.

Sara will graduate from Centennial in 2005. After graduation, she says she is unsure of which path she will take. “I haven’t figured out what field I want to get into, I just know I want to work with kids,” she says. Due to Centennial’s affiliations with Ryerson and York Universities, she may pair her Centennial Early Childhood Education diploma with a degree from Ryerson, where she will be able to transfer many of her college courses, and begin in third year. Conversely, she may opt to obtain a Bachelor of Education through York University, where she can begin in second year. “I have tons of time to figure it out,” she says. “I’m just in my first semester now. I’ll learn as the course goes on where I want to be.”

In the meantime, Sara continues to work hard at her courses. Her dedication, coupled with the financial aid of the scholarship, will ensure her continued success.

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