July 16, 2016
When the Thunder Bay Community Foundation (TBCF) was formed in 1971, Sue Cochran Simonsen became a founding member. “I was thrilled to be part of a philanthropic group created to make a difference for our community”, she said. Two years ago, Sue was invited to attend the graduation ceremony at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School on behalf of the TBCF. While being part of that graduation ceremony, she gained an insight into the amazing Aboriginal culture through the stirring drumming and singing of the ceremony. As well, she felt the almost palpable pride of the parents and community as they celebrated the achievements of their young graduates.
It was then that Sue fully realized the chasm between the Aboriginal culture and the mainstream Canadian culture. She realized that for the future of Canadian Society to advance, this separation had to be understood. As a retired educator, Sue had witnessed the many doors that had opened up to young people as they became transformed by education. Sue knew that the misunderstandings between the cultures could only be breached by education on both sides. She was determined to contribute in some way so that young Aboriginal Graduates, such as those she met that day, would not be hindered in continuing their studies after High School.
In February of this year, Sue decided to create a bursary at the TBCF that would be awarded to Aboriginal students who want to continue their education at a College or University in Canada. This bursary will be called the Susan Cochran Simonsen Bursary for Aboriginal Students.
“I invite anyone to consider adding a contribution to this fund so that we can all begin to make changes in the social structure in Canada which will encourage leading Aboriginal young people to take their rightful place in our great land,” said Simonsen. Sue will give out the first bursary at the next Scholarship & Bursary Reception in 2016.