Postsecondary Education: Dream it! Believe it! Achieve it!

(April 11, 2012 – Thunder Bay, ON)  

It wasn’t a typical lunch hour at Sherbrooke Public School today.

Instead of munching on apples and sandwiches, students had a front row seat for the signing of an historic agreement that could put them on the path to becoming Lakehead University graduates. 

The Little Bear Singers perform at the opening of the Achievement Program event at Sherbrooke Public School


These future doctors, lawyers, geologists, biologists, teachers – and maybe even an astronaut or two – were part of an enthusiastic audience that gathered for the signing of the Achievement Program Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Lakehead University and the Lakehead District School Board (LDSB).

Sherbrooke student Orion Kejick visits Lakehead's biology lab as part of the Achievement Program's pilot project this past summer



Along with the students and their parents, Mayor Keith Hobbs, city councillors, Aboriginal community members, and University and School Board representatives were on hand to witness and support this exciting new initiative.

The Achievement Program will open doors for students throughout Northwestern Ontario who face major barriers to a university education. The goal is to raise $10 million in 10 years.

But this innovative program is about more than the money.

“It’s about changing attitudes and expectations. It’s about giving young people, especially Aboriginal youth, the opportunity to realize their dreams,” says Lakehead University President Brian Stevenson, who is spearheading the new program.

Lakehead University President Brian Stevenson and Lakehead District School Board Director of Education Catherine Siemieniuk shake hands after signing the Achievement Program MOU

Many First Nations, Métis, Inuit and children from families of low socioeconomic status miss out on the greater career choices and better quality of life that a university education can bring.

Through the Achievement Program, children from Grades 4-12 will be able to earn money to go towards tuition fees at Lakehead University by participating in yearly activities. These activities will range from academic and athletic camps to arts and science and outdoors programming – all geared to give kids the skills to become community leaders. The Achievement Program will also include financial support for mature students.

“To succeed and achieve one’s dreams not only requires financial support,” says Beverly Sabourin, Vice-Provost of Lakehead University’s Office of Aboriginal Initiatives. “Academic, cultural, and social supports are also an important component and this is what Lakehead University is committed to provide.”

Sherbrooke Public School is a natural choice to launch the new partnership. With its bright corridors, supportive staff and extracurricular programs, the Thunder Bay public school has a reputation for giving students opportunities to thrive.

“Lakehead Public Schools is committed to the success of every student,” says Director of Education Catherine Siemieniuk. “Our staff and school communities embrace innovative opportunities to help every child realize his or her full potential.”

The school’s forward-thinking approach to education included hosting last year’s inaugural Achievement Program pilot project – a summer literacy camp for Sherbrooke and Agnew H. Johnston Public School students.

Both President Stevenson and Education Director Siemieniuk believe the Achievement Program will send a strong message to all children to believe in themselves, to dream – and to dream big.

Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.

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For more information, please contact:

Tracey Skehan, Communications Officer                    Bruce Nugent, Communications Officer
Lakehead University                                                   Lakehead Public Schools
(807) 343-8372                                                          (807) 625-5214                                     

Last updated April 12, 2012

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