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Sprott Shaw Blog

Success stories are built in many ways, some through education, some through pure determination and a will to succeed.

Posted May 3, 2017, by Sprott Shaw College. Tags: , ,


This story combines both, Susan L. studied Legal Administration in 2007 at our Victoria campus, little did she know at the time the struggles before her. The first week of studies for Susan did not start well she had to deal with a death in the family and already apprehensive about keeping up with her new challenges of attending school things seemed out of reach.

Susan states the support and encouragement she felt from her new family at “Sprott Shaw” helped her find her inner strength and a will to carry on. Susan pushed on and felt support daily from the staff and her new classmates.

Only 3 months into her studies Susan was called out of class to the news of her house was on fire, for some this may be the final blow but for Susan it appeared to make her stronger and more determined. As with most Sprott Shaw students she quickly realized she was part of a bigger family and soon found classmates that she now considered friends asking what they could do to help and showed up at her door ready to do whatever it took.

Just 6 months into her program Susan tragically was diagnosed with Ankylosing Sponylitis a crippling form of Arthritis and was told she would never be able to manage a “sit down job”. Admissions Advisor, Phil, remembers talking with Susan daily being someone who also has a disability after having just lost his wife he felt his own story could help by sharing with her and encouraging her as much as he could, his favourite saying after all is “Can’t is a 4 Letter for Won’t”.

Susan states that her Advisor Phil gave her daily encouragement and directed her to focus more on the business part of her program. At the time she had just started a small Karaoke business and was teaching adults and children with special needs to read and sing through Karaoke. This slowly morphed itself into a new found passion and career.

After completing her studies Susan found her Karaoke company growing faster than even she could imagine, working 5 nights as DJ and 5 days a week as a Community Support Worker with people with Special Needs.

Susan states her “biggest opportunity” was when she received a phone call from the owner of the York Hotel to host a Karaoke event for local homeless people. The event did not go as smooth as everyone had hoped, the caterer’s staff was a no show and other important volunteers, Susan being Susan picked up the ball and quickly played an instrumental role pulling it all together. Her hard work and determination did not go unnoticed.

Just 2 weeks after the event Susan received a phone call from the owner and main sponsor of the event and arranged a meeting. The owner had been deeply involved for years in the Victoria area assisting the homeless whenever he could. Susan, says when she met with Gord he said he was very inspired by her own story and wanted to help her achieve her goals and her lifelong dream of opening a store.

Over the years much has changed, it started with her store “Vintage Funk” a local second hand store where she employs people with cognitive and physical disabilities and carrying on with her passion for Karaoke she has a Karaoke machine at the back of store where her employees and friends can practice. Recently Susan has opened her second store in Victoria “Vintage Buck”, started a local band and continues helping those less fortunate. Susan says she still hears Phil’s voice on her shoulder when times get tough, telling her “you can do this”.

Susan you are the true definition of Success and Sprott Shaw could not be more proud to call you part of our Alumni!