Emma Bouvier (centre) sits with Kathy Sudlow

Local student gets scholarship to military college

Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year paved way for Sooke student

What do you do when you’re graduating from high school and you’re offered a one-year scholarship to attend the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) in Kingston Ontario?

With one admiring eye on her father’s military career and another hopeful eye on her own future, EMCS graduating student Emma Bouvier has decided to accept.

An organized go-getter, Bouvier began her application for the scholarship back in September with her narrative letter (why she should be accepted, what she has to offer). In October she completed the other forms and paperwork. By early November her application was signed, sealed and delivered.

The deadline for applications was the following February.

One could say she was very keen to apply.

With her application in so early, there was a lot of anxiety in the waiting. Half a year later in the third week of May, a very thrilled Bouvier received word she was accepted into the program.

Although a recipient of a scholarship, school wasn’t always smooth sailing for Bouvier. Her first year at Edward Milne comunity school was a challenge.

“It was just a big change from what I was used to,”  said Bouvier. “Things fell apart,” concurred Trish McNabb, the Aboriginal Support Worker at EMCS.

“But I got my head back on,” smiles Bouvier. “I definitely grew a lot from all my mistakes.”

When asked if she would undo her mistakes given the magical opportunity for a do-over, Bouvier sagely answers, “No. They gave me a lot of learning and I got a lot of great memories out of them,” she reflects with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “I can look back on it now and laugh.”

Bouvier learned about the Aboriginal Leadership Opportunity Year (ALOY) Program through the EMCS Aboriginal department, maintained by Trish McNabb, the Aboriginal Support Worker, and Kathryn Sudlow, the Aboriginal Support Teacher. Together, McNabb and Sudlow run the All Nations Room at EMCS, and a part of their function is to help students become aware of academic opportunities and programs for which they might be eligible.

As a Métis, Bouvier qualified to apply for the ALOY scholarship. Academic achievement was considered, as was extra-curricular activity (homework, employment, sports, hobbies, music, volunteer and all other community-related activities). The ALOY program, which helps Aboriginal students bridge from high school to university life, currently accepts only 20 people Canada-wide.

In early August, Bouvier will be travelling to Kingston for basic officer training. Classes begin on September 3.

She currently aspires to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering, or in Military and Strategic Studies. The ALOY Program, which is a one-year program, will set her up to take her next four years of University through RMC, should she decide to continue. This education will launch a career as either an aerospace engineer officer or an intelligence officer.

“The ALOY program was created in August 2008 to provide a military education and learning experience for members of aboriginal communities in Canada,” declares the RMC website (http://www.rmc.ca), “ALOY is one of several programs created to demonstrate to aboriginal communities in rural, urban and remote locations, that the Canadian Forces offers a fair and equitable environment in which to serve.”

Bouvier grew up in a military family, and so she is familiar with the disruptive rhythm of life. In spite of the many moves, Bouvier and her two older brothers, Cody and Jordan, have all graduated from EMCS. Bouvier’s younger sister, Hanna, has also attended the high school.

“Trish and Kathy have been a huge support throughout my high school education,” says a very appreciative Bouvier. “The All Nations room helped me succeed greatly.”

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