Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/6/2009 (2915 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Charles Settee has been a dispatcher, a telemarketer and worked in offices, all while using crutches to get around for close to three decades after losing his leg as a teen.
A member of Fisher River Cree Nation, Settee has been on a winding road to get to where he is now, an assistant to the aboriginal employment inclusion officer at the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters -- Manitoba.
Now Settee, 46, is graduating from Red River College, and he has earned the gold medal in the computer assisted business course with a grade point average of 4.35.
Settee is among Red River College's newest 1,330 graduates who are receiving 749 diplomas and 581 certificates at spring convocation last night and tonight at 7:30 p.m. on the Notre Dame campus. Earlier, Settee took a certificate course at Red River, after getting his high school diploma from the Winnipeg Adult Education Centre in 2004.
"I broke my leg when I was 12, and it ended up getting amputated when I was 19," Settee said. "It was right in school, goofing around in the hallway. It never healed."
Nor could his leg accommodate a prosthetic, Settee said. He's also an avid guitarist. "I play guitar and I sing, nothing professional, the blues," he said. "One of my boys plays guitar, a nephew plays guitar, a brother-in-law plays the drums."
Settee and his two sons also have in common something a little out of the ordinary -- they're all post-secondary students.
Settee's sons are in university on their way to becoming teachers, one in native studies and the other in physical education.
On his courses at Red River, chuckled Settee, "I was the second-oldest."
Your child's substitute teacher's aide might just have a master's degree in mathematics.
Tetyana Kramar, who has been substituting in Winnipeg School Division schools for the past few months, is graduating from the para-educator program at Red River.
She and her husband and two children came here from Ukraine five years ago. Canada accepts her master's degree in math, Kramar said, but it would take at least six years to finish her schooling and fufil her dream of becoming an engineer.
"I need really, really high English for work in this area. I am not 20 years old, I do not have time," Kramar said.
Her family moved to Canada "because of the political situation in my country, very unstable. A lot of people lost jobs. Even if I was an engineer in my country, I couldn't find job as engineer," she said.
Kramar had been working at Smitty's, but her parents, both retired teachers, urged her to find a way to work with kids, so she enrolled in the para-educator course to become a teacher's aide, often working with special-needs children.
So far, Kramar has worked in 10 WSD schools. "As substitute, I can say every day I have work. I do exactly what the teacher wants," said Kramar, who is happy to be a substitute until she sees a school with an opening.
"I like to teach in EAL (English as an Additional language) school. I feel what those kids feel -- I'm in the same boat.
Steve St. Louis used to make his living poking around the rarely seen attics and inside the domes of Winnipeg's grandest old buildings, or venturing into incredibly dumpy places hoping they'd reach new lows of decrepitude and spookiness.
Trouble was, finding locations for the movies isn't steady work, said St. Louis, a graduate in creative communications who's going into public relations.
"What I liked about scouting was getting into a lot of places -- it was doors open, all the time," to check out parts of buildings hardly anyone ever sees.
"The weirdest, I was looking for an old decrepit home for The Horsemen with Dennis Quaid."
St. Louis got a tip that led him to a developer who bought up abandoned houses occupied by squatters, then renovated them into good housing. St. Louis toured eight truly dumpy places on the before side of the developer's before-and-after list, but alas, the movie has yet to be released.
"It was enjoyable, but you never knew where your next job is coming from," he said. St. Louis went to St. Paul's High School and graduated from Kelvin High School in the early 1990s. He has a geography degree from the University of Manitoba.
He delivered ribs for The White House restaurant, taught English in Japan for five years, and scoured Manitoba for locations for films -- his favourite was The Lookout, filmed in Winnipeg and Hartney.
But he wanted regular work.
"I wasn't getting far with a BA in geography," he recalled.
"I already had a (university) radio program" and was confident as a broadcaster. Someone suggested the creative communications program.
"I always thought a lot of what I was doing in the film industry was PR -- you had to schmooze them to let you come in their house," he laughed.
St. Louis is doing marketing for the Jazz Winnipeg Festival, and he's off to Vancouver to receive the National Student Award of Excellence from the Canadian Public Relations Society.
A complete list of student honours, awards and medals is available at www.winnipegfreepress.com.