Lakehead University – Achievement Program Day

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Amanda Stefanile
Amanda Stefanile

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – Lakehead University’s ActiveU staff hosted more than 80 young people on Friday, May 13 as part of the annual Achievement Program Day on Campus.

Lakehead started the Achievement Program in 2011 to help students obtain a post-secondary education at Lakehead University.

“The Achievement Program is Lakehead University’s commitment to supporting access to postsecondary education by providing opportunities to students who experience socioeconomic barriers,” said Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead’s President and Vice-Chancellor.

“This program is about hope and opportunity. It’s about encouraging students to see themselves as Lakehead University graduates at an early age,” Dr. McPherson said.

The Achievement Program offers children who might otherwise not have been able to attend University the opportunity to experience it. School boards choose eligible schools based on socioeconomic status and families self enrol.

Children in grades 4-12 participate in programming yearly in their school, community and at Lakehead University, and in return earn financial support for Lakehead University once they graduate high school.

“When this program began, our charter class students were in the fourth grade at St. Ann’s,” said Omer Belisle, Superintendent of Education at the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board.

“Today they are in their final year of senior elementary school and will be entering high school next year. The Achievement Program has and will continue to benefit our students for their upcoming post-secondary education.

“We are proud to partner with Lakehead University, as this incredible program hones the confidence and skills our students need to achieve academic success and flourish into their adulthood,” Belisle said.

Lakehead University’s Achievement Program Day welcomed the next generation of Lakehead students to the CJ Sanders Fieldhouse gym.

Amanda Stefanile, Achievement Program Coordinator, said she was happy to have the students back on campus for the day.

“I’m so excited to be able to host our students on campus this year as the last two years have been cancelled due to COVID,” Stefanile said.

“The smiles on the kids’ faces as they participate in recreational, educational and cultural programming is the highlight for me. I really want to thank the Lakehead faculty and staff for their assistance in providing hands-on programming for our students.”

Achievement Program Day on Campus had students exploring campus through educational activities offered by ActiveU, the School of Nursing, Let’s Talk Science, Ingenuity, the Department of Chemistry, the Faculty of Engineering, the Niijii Indigenous Mentorship Program, and Indigenous Cultural Support Services.

Lakeishia Meekis is an Achievement Program alum who encouraged the students to continue to push themselves.  “It makes me happy that I can be a role model for other students and families,” she said.

“It makes me feel proud. The Achievement Program always gave me lots of learning opportunities and I’m thankful that I can give back.”