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2015 Champion Jacob Sinclair

Determined to overcome barriers to learning

Jacob-Sinclair rs Willpower and determination to overcome the mental health issues that had sidelined his education have proven Jacob Sinclair is a true Education WORKS Champion.

After several attempts to earn the final credits he needed for his Grade 12 diploma, Jacob graduated last June through Grand Erie Learning Alternatives (GELA) in Brantford.

“I made up my mind that there was no obstacle I couldn’t overcome,” said the 25-year-old. “It took me a few years to get to that point. I am very confident and proud of myself for achieving some success.”

Jacob was 17 when he left high school. He was battling anxiety and depression and found the rigours of the classroom created constant stress for him.

Unable to cope, he says he spent a lot of what was supposed to be classroom time at home.

“I tried going back to school a few times but it didn’t work out.”

The supportive teachers and staff at GELA helped Jacob reach his goal of earning, in just seven months, the nine credits he needed to graduate.

“Jacob is a role model for those struggling with mental illness as he has demonstrated that it’s possible to get the supports required to achieve your goals,” said Sam Ludlow of Ontario Works who nominated him as an Education WORKS Champion.

Jacob, who lives in Brantford, has also completed the personal support worker program through the Grand Erie District School Board.

Unsure that is the career path he wants to take, he is awaiting counselling to discuss the post-secondary options available to him while he works full time.

Jacob is seriously considering studies in social work. “I want to do something that is supporting my community.”

Photo by Brian Thompson, Brantford Expositor