Student lends unique perspective to provincial council
By Mark Kerr, Senior Communications Officer
Elizabeth Edgar-Webkamigad and other members of the Crane Clan of the Ojibway, Odawa and Pottowattomi Nations are charged with external leadership responsibilities. They must keep the best interests of the tribe in mind at all times.
Ms. Edgar-Webkamigad, a teacher candidate in the Faculty of Education, sees a correlation between her First Nations background and her new role as a council member of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), where she has sworn to serve and protect the public interest when it comes to the province’s teaching profession.
“I am very honored and excited for this opportunity,” says Ms. Edgar-Webkamigad, who is enrolled in the Manitoulin-North Shore Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Queen’s. “I have a passion for learning and teaching. My formal and informal teacher roles complement my cultural heritage and beliefs very nicely. I am not able to separate them; they are connected.”
The 37-member OCT council develops and approves policies that regulate the teaching profession in Ontario. Serving on the council is one of many commitments for Ms. Edgar-Webkamigad. She has successfully juggled being a mother of four children, working full-time managing a family health team, working part-time as a college instructor, and simultaneously studying for her arts degree at Algoma University and her education degree at Queen’s.
Even though her life has been busy and challenging, Ms. Edgar-Webkamigad has found it rewarding to be the first person in her family to graduate from university.
My formal and informal teacher roles complement my cultural heritage and beliefs very nicely.
“I fast tracked my degree at Algoma University and I went to school year round to complete my degree in two years,” she says. “It was worth all of the effort when I heard my name called and walked across the stage to receive my diploma cum laude.
“I really look forward to being able to do it again at Queen’s during the fall convocation,” she adds.
Ms. Edgar-Webkamigad has already attended two OCT council meetings and is serving on the standards of practice and education committee and the accreditation committee.
“I have participated in learning all of my life, and I am so excited to continue on with that,” she says. “I hope to keep learning well into my sunset years. Learning is forever and I would love to instill that in people I happen to cross paths with.”