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The family that studies together, thrives together

Published on Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2016

Yolanda Bethencourt, centre, with her children Miguel and Carolina.
Yolanda Bethencourt, centre, with her children Miguel and Carolina.

When riots and gunfire broke out near the university campus that Miguel Herrera Bethencourt was attending, his mother Yolanda decided enough was enough.

She felt saddened to watch Venezuela, her native country, descend into unrest and violence. It was time for her children to study somewhere safer.

Her journey to find a safe educational haven for Jesus Felipe, Carolina and Miguel has brought them to Georgian College in Barrie, where all four family members are now enrolled in various programs.

Back home, Yolanda, her husband and her father were all civil engineers operating their own professional firm. But tragically, both her husband and father passed away, leaving Yolanda struggling to operate the company on her own. Then the shooting began outside her son’s campus. He was safe this time, but for how much longer, she wondered?

From Venezuela, Yolanda was able to get first one son enrolled in studies at Georgian, then another and finally, her daughter. Jesus is studying Computer Systems Technician – Networking; Miguel is in Civil Engineering Technology; and Carolina is enrolled in Culinary Management. All three are so dedicated to their studies that each maintains top academic standing on the Dean’s List.

Seeing how well her children were doing, Yolanda herself worked hard to upgrade her high school English and qualified to attend Georgian as a student in Hospitality and Tourism, beginning in January 2016. All four now live together in a house in Barrie while attending Georgian.

Always enthusiastic, Yolanda has jumped into college life with vigor. In March, she ran for election with the Georgian College Students’ Association – and won a position as a director.

“I just want to be part of the college,” she said. “Like anyone else, we have had our ups and downs, but people at the college and in Barrie have been just so helpful to us. My children all have Canadian friends and are doing so well in school.”

Members of a homestay family who hosted Miguel when he first came to Barrie have taken the Herrera Bethencourt family under their wing and helped them find housing.

“It’s so nice to know we are not alone,” she said.

Yolanda’s hard work and commitment have also won her the respect of Georgian faculty. In supporting Yolanda for a scholarship, counsellor Cindy Korpatnicki wrote that Yolanda’s courage to seek a better life for herself and her children after her husband’s premature death “is an inspiration, not only to me, but also to many of her much younger classmates.”

English teacher Jennifer Hickey said she has no doubt that Yolanda will excel in anything she commits to.

“I wish her well, but not luck, for it is not luck but her tenacity and positive outlook that have got her this far,” Hickey wrote.

Yolanda is touched by such kind words and is striving to give back to the college and her classmates through her volunteer work. In the meantime, she and her son Miguel recently celebrated their latest accomplishment – winning academic awards in each of their programs.

Cabinetmaking students show their best work at exhibit

Published on Friday, Jul. 22, 2016

Male student with safety visor working a power sawStudents in Georgian College’s Cabinetmaking Techniques program will display their work at the fourth annual Student Cabinetmaking Exhibit, starting Tuesday, Aug. 9 in the Helen and Arch Brown building at the Barrie Campus. The grand opening takes place between 7 and 9 p.m. and continues Wednesday, Aug. 10 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Students will be on hand to discuss their work, some of which will be for sale. Door prizes and giveaways will also be offered.

“It’s an exciting time of year,” says Prof. Lynn MacKinlay. “The students have come so far and are about to graduate and enter the industry. Their pieces are beautiful and we want to share them with everyone.”

This is just one of many opportunities Cabinetmaking students have throughout the year to develop and showcase their skills, she adds.

Prepare for further education and develop essential employability skills with General Arts and Science

Published on Tuesday, Jul. 05, 2016

three students at a table in a library looking at a laptopAre you interested in postsecondary studies, but don’t know where to start? Georgian’s General Arts and Science program can help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to access a broad range of careers.

“General Arts and Science helps students strengthen their written and verbal communication skills, their ability to solve problems, and to work well with others. It provides them with the skills necessary to adapt to an ever changing workplace, to become creative thinkers, and to make sound judgments,” says Esther Griffin, Liberal Arts and Academic Excellence faculty.

Students can choose from a couple of options – a one-year certificate or two-year diploma. Both programs help build a foundation for further postsecondary education at either the college or university level; they can also choose to enter the workforce right away with a broad range of work-ready skills.

Georgian students benefit from experienced, dedicated faculty, small class sizes, state-of-the-art facilities and excellent support services.

For more information, visit

Ford-supported electric vehicle charging station powers up unique research at Georgian

Published on Thursday, Jun. 30, 2016

Representatives from Ford Motor Company of Canada and Barrie Ford gathered at the Barrie Campus of Georgian College on June 29 to celebrate collaboration with the college and the two-year lease renewal of two Ford electric vehicles (EVs). They also learned about the work students have been doing that will further develop technology and innovation in the field.

Continue reading

Health care studies a priority at Georgian’s Muskoka Campus

Published on Friday, Jun. 24, 2016

A male student in a lab chatting with a female studentWith health care topping the list for today’s in-demand careers, it’s not too late to pursue a career in the health sciences. Spots are still open for the Pre-health Sciences and Personal Support Worker programs at Georgian College’s Muskoka Campus.

The campus offers full-time classes in Pre-Health Sciences starting in September as well as classes in the Personal Support Worker program beginning in January. Continue reading

W. R. (Bill) Van Wyck recognized with Honorary Degree at Owen Sound Campus convocation

Published on Friday, Jun. 17, 2016

W. R. (Bill) Van Wyck, centre, receives the Georgian College Board of Governors’ Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies degree during convocation ceremonies at the Owen Sound Campus June 16. Presenting the degree are Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes, left, and Board Vice Chair Jim Bertram.
W. R. (Bill) Van Wyck, centre, receives the Georgian College Board of Governors’ Honorary Bachelor of Applied Studies degree during convocation ceremonies at the Owen Sound Campus June 16. Presenting the degree are Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes, left, and Board Vice Chair Jim Bertram.

Owen Sound entrepreneur and community builder W. R. (Bill) Van Wyck has long sung the praises of Georgian College. Today, Georgian College, in turn praised one of its most prominent boosters. Continue reading

Georgian helps raise more than $13,000

Published on Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016

Georgian staff members are shown in running/walking gear and a young woman stands beside a police officer.

The fifth annual Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, held in Shelburne June 1, raised more than $13,000.

In addition to sponsoring prizes for the run, the Georgian Career and Employment Community Services team in Orangeville participated with other local businesses and residents who brought awareness and much-needed funds to assist Special Olympic athletes.

Part-time employee vote: OPSEU representation

Published on Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is seeking to represent part-time support staff and student employees on college campuses across Ontario. All part-time support staff and student employees who are working now or who worked during the 2015-16 academic year are eligible to vote.

The following voting schedule has been established by the Ontario Labour Relations Board for Georgian locations: Continue reading

Partnership sparks provincial recognition

Published on Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016

A woman is presented with a plaque surrounded by uniformed fire staff.
Georgian’s Scott Emslie and Becca Allan are presented with the Ontario Fire Marshal Award.

A team of Georgian staff, faculty and students was recognized recently by the Ontario Fire Marshal. They were presented with the 2016 Public Fire Safety Council’s Fire Safety Action Award. Continue reading

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