2012 Winners

Timmins | Aspiring Achiever Scholarship

Carly Verville

Carly Verville

Several years ago, a tragic accident impacted the life of Carly Verville's biggest role model.

The strength and determination displayed by Lynne Guertin to overcome that event gave the inspiration for the Grade 12 student at Ecole Secondaire Catholique Theriault in Timmins to write an essay entitled, "Angel on Earth."

It was while enrolled in Guertin's daughter's dance class that Verville first became acquainted with the woman who would become her mentor.

"I was just used to seeing her all the time at the dance studio," said Verville. "Even when her daughter wasn't there, she'd come in and talk to the kids all the time. Give them advice."

Guertin tragically lost her daughter when Verville was in Grade 8. The following summer, when Verville began high school, Guertin became both her guidance counsellor and her mathematics teacher.

"We would talk all the time. Whenever I had questions about my future, I knew I could go to her," said Verville. "She was always the person that would never judge."

Verville made the decision to base her entire essay on Guertin and her always positive and optimistic outlook in the face of adversity.

"I look at the little things I'm stressed out about, and I wonder why, because there she is living with such a difficult event that happened to her," she said. "I wanted to write this to let her know that I look up to her, and that she's been a great role model in my life."

Verville vividly remembers attending a mutual friend's birthday party when she was younger. While all the other kids were playing outside, Guertin's daughter would occasionally go inside and lean over her mother's shoulder.

It was that strong maternal bond that stuck with Verville and helped her write the first few sentences in her essay, which read, "that the bond shared between a mother and daughter is created from the very beginning, starting through pregnancy and continuing throughout a lifetime."

"I was just a little girl, but it was such an impact that I still remember what they looked like," she said. "The connection between the two of them was strong."

Verville has a tremendous record of helping others. At 16, she began teaching dance classes and now spends time volunteering at her local church and is active on the high school students' council.

She's been a youth ambassador with the Timmins police, helped out at the Alzheimer's Society and completed her co-op placement in the special education section at her school.

"I always like to help people, ever since I was a little kid," she said. "I try to be as involved as I can," she said.

Verville attributes her community involvement to Guertin and her incredible work ethic.

Next year, Verville's post-secondary plans involve the social services field with a focus on autism and behavioural science.

Verville concluded her essay with a bittersweet and emotional sentence that led to the title of the essay: "When Lynne Guertin reflects upon her daughter as an angel in heaven, those who surround her know that this mother is truly an angel on earth."

"I had a hard time to go back to those difficult times, but then when I started writing it, I didn't really feel that I was sad anymore," said Verville. "I was more happy to share her story, because she has such an impact and influence on people, that it's something that's positive."

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