find your path

  • 960x160-placement
  • Looking to make a change in your life or career?

    Start Here

2016 Champion Hannah Newfeld

Numbers add up for adult learner

Factors, exponents and integers were part of the reason Hannah Newfeld left high school in Grade 10.

Ironically, eight years later, the 23-year-old Brantford woman is considering a career "that has something to do with numbers."

Hannah certainly isn't the only student to have struggled with math but not everyone turns that adverse experience into something positive.

Website Upload - Hannah Newfeld"Not confident her her math skills," Hannah left school at 15, taking a series of low-paying jobs before she had her son five years later. That life-changing event altered her view on learning.

"How could I tell him education is important if I am being a hypocrite about it," she said.

Through Ontario Works, Hannah was connected with the LEAP (Learning, Earning and Parenting) program, which helps parents between 16 and 25 finish high school, improve their parenting skills, and prepare for and find work.

Hannah worked with Grand Erie Learning Alternatives to earn the 15 credits she needed for a high school diploma, graduating in February 2015. She also found time to work and completed the required parenting hours at community programs.

"The teachers there understand who their students are," she said. "They understand we have children who need us. All of us have some kind of story and no one is judged. It is a really supportive atmosphere. They really helped us to success."

Hannah is now enrolled in the Retail Pharmacy Assistant program at Mohawk College with the hope of getting a job that will put her new-found numeracy skills to the test.

Hannah did her homework before applying to the program, researching the types of jobs that have a promising future.

"There is an ever increasing demand for pharmacy workers," she said. "I wanted to be able to say I was getting a huge OSAP loan for a good reason."

"Hannah is an excellent example of 'If you dream it, you can be it,'" said Courtney Montgomery, a LEAP case manager at Ontario Works who nominated her as an Education Works Champion. "She is now off to the next stage of her life --post-secondary education and I believe she will do very well. She has drive and motivation."

Hannah, who is set to graduate from her pharmacy program at the end of September, offers this to teens thinking of leaving school: "Education might not seem like it makes sense right now but it is so worth it in the end. If you don't do it, you will be kicking yourself in the butt for years to come."