Inspiring Success - Strong mother, strong student recipient of scholarship
Sheila Peter-Paul is “honoured” to be one of three recipients of the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund scholarship
By Shari Narine
Sheila Peter-Paul is “honoured” to be one of three recipients of the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund scholarship. But the $2,000 win means more than financial aid.
“Being awarded the NIEEF scholarship gives me reassurance that I am capable of achieving my goals and passions,” she said. “Being a successful applicant motivates me to work to the best of my ability.”
Having an eight-year-old daughter to care for, the money will also help relieve some of the financial burden.
After working for 11 years in social development for her band, Eel River Bar First Nation, in New Brunswick, Peter-Paul discovered her “love for numbers” and decided to take a leave of absence in order to pursue training in accounting.
“It took a lot of courage for me to do such a thing, but going back to school has proven that if you have a love for something, you cannot let fear of the unknown stand in your way. I am ecstatic to be a mature student and I have grown in so many ways,” she said.
She is currently in her second year of a business administration accounting program at New Brunswick Community College Fredericton and this year is also serving as treasurer for the students’ union.
Peter-Paul’s success at school – where she has maintained a 3.9 grade point average – comes as no surprise to Patricia Miller, member of the Eel River Bar band council. Miller worked closely with Peter-Paul in a number of departments, including education and social development.
“Sheila’s dedication to these programs, organizational skills and attention to detail was an asset for not only meeting clients and students needs but for the Eel River Bar Band as well. These qualities ensured that tasks were completed promptly and accurately and on more than one occasion was able to identify oversights that helped the band financially,” said Miller.
But Peter-Paul was not only recognized for her workplace skills. She was also recognized for her role as a mother.
“As a mother of three, Sheila has worked extremely hard to be a role model to her children and she recently got to celebrate her eldest daughter’s graduation. Sheila has made sure her children know the value of a solid education. She continues to balance her responsibilities as a parent and as a student with a level heave and works hard to never allow the other to suffer; her family can definitely be proud of their mother,” said Nancy Harn, Aboriginal student advisor at NBCC.
What lies ahead for Peter-Paul is exciting and the accounting program she is presently enrolled in, along with her NIEEF scholarship, will help her achieve her build that future. Her two goals are to own and operate a tea shop and to buy her first home.
“I know it is important to stay focused and not to jump ahead of myself, for now I will remain focused on my education and then look to building a career,” said Peter-Paul.
Executive MBA, Aboriginal Business & Leadership, Simon Fraser University
Eel River Bar First Nation, New Brunswick
Business Administration - Accounting, New Brunswick Community College, Fredericton
Serpent River First Nation, Ontario