At the age of 60, Rob felt it was time to finish his high school diploma.
It was always something he had hoped to achieve, but so often mental illness and other factors alter the path that so many take for granted.
“Life just got in the way,” he says.
After leaving school to help his family financially, Rob joined the Armed Forces serving as a cook in Petawawa. It was a career that would afford him the chance to travel and see Egypt and all of Europe.
After the military he did a number of odd jobs before landing with the Toronto Transit Commision (TTC).
His bipolar diagnosis connected him with Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) and the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) which he can’t speak highly enough about.
“That was a real eye opener. That program should be taught in high school.”
After PHP he asked “what’s next” which lead him to the Ontario Shores Supported Education Program (OSSEP) working with Vocational Instructor Nicole Meens Miller.
He started the OSSEP in February, initially enrolling in the Grade 12 English credit course. He was co-registered with Archbishop Anthony Meagher’s Correspondence Program at the Durham Catholic District School Board in order to complete his diploma.
In recovery, the path one starts can often change for a variety of reasons. Rob struggled with the English course and was contemplating quitting if he couldn’t change subjects.
“If I didn’t have Nicole and her support I would have just quit.”
Providing support and helping him gain confidence, Nicole enrolled him in the Guidance and Peer Leadership course and within three weeks he had completed all the course work and was writing his final exam for the first of his final high school credits.
After completing his Grade 11 math credit, Rob is back working on his Grade 12 English credit and his goal for a high school diploma is within reach. He admits he was motivated by the success of his previous courses, in both of which he earned an A, to go back and tackle the English course. Although it is a challenging course Rob is working through it and refreshing his skills along the way. Rob has said, “I now know there isn’t much I can’t do.”
Rob isn’t sure what path is next after he gets his high school diploma. As he talks, a college curriculum guide sits close at hand. “There are a lot of things you can learn, I am just taking things at my own pace.”
About the OSSEP Program
The OSSEP program can help mature learners complete their high-school education. In most cases mature learners can be evaluated to receive up to 26 high school credits. There are many factors depending on what credits the individual has, where they went to school and the year they started or were eligible to start high-school in Ontario. If you want to learn for learning’s sake, finish high school, improve your literacy, prepare for college, or learn computer skills, the Ontario Shores Supported Education Program can help you.
For more information on the Program, contact Nicole Meens Miller in the Vocational Services Department ext. 6307.