CEGEP is a stressful experience at the best of times, but there is a small, often overlooked demographic of the school’s populace for whom regularly attending class and doing homework is an almost insurmountable challenge. Single parents with young children who want to obtain a higher level of education are faced with daunting challenges every step of the way, but one Vanier student is looking to extend a hand in support.
For the past year, Vanier has offered a Single-Parent Scholarship, of $600 for to any eligible candidate, to for both single parents and young students living in single-parent households. The person responsible for this initiative is Ermine Paronyan, the current VCSA president, who knows all too well the struggles of a single parent.
She states, “I am a child of a single parent, and I know how hard it is for a parent to go back to school and study again and just give a better life to their kids. My mom was my inspiration, and that was the main reason why I created the scholarship.”
To which she adds,“Usually scholarships are for academic grades, community involvement, but for this one you really have to be a single parent because [when you’re a single parent] you really need the money, it’s really a financial need.”
The application committee received six applications the first time the scholarship was offered, but the dire nature of the scholarship means that there are likely many more possible applicants who are simply never heard from.
Ermine Paroyan recognized that: “Generally single parents are so busy- they have their school, they have their kids, they have their kid’s homework, their own homework. So they don’t really have time to fill in that application, write an essay, get a reference letter. So it’s only those five, six people who make it to the end.”
Unfortunately, “there’s certainly a lot more.”
What’s worse, is that the scholarship may not even be around come next Fall.
The current VCSA president admits, “I won’t be here anymore, I’m graduating this semester, so it really depends on future council members of the VCSA, if they want to continue my project, but if they don’t, then that’s it.”
The VCSA allocates a certain amount of its budget to scholarships, from which this scholarship gets its funding. But once Ms. Paronyan graduates and steps down as President, the committee can choose to allocate the money to something else. Still, Ms. Paronyan insists she will continue to promote her scholarship, even after she has graduated. With any luck, her scholarship will continue at Vanier long after she’s gone.
Written By: Ian Down
Originally Published: February 2016