The A. Marion Clarke Education Trust is having a tremendous impact on the advancement of early childhood undergraduate teacher education at the University of Saskatchewan—just ask Jordanne Estergaard and Christina Luross.
The two young women are teacher candidates in the College of Education. In September, they will begin their final year of university specializing in early childhood education—an area of focus that would otherwise not have been possible without Marion Clarke’s will gift. A fellow education alumna, her donation re-established the program in 2016, allowing the college to continue supporting programming for those with an interest in the youngest minds in the education system.
Originally from southern Ontario, Jordanne had thoughts of becoming a teacher from a young age. Her choice was solidified after completing a co-op work placement in her senior year of high school.
“I worked in kindergarten classes, and then Grade 6 and Grade 8, but kindergarten stole my heart,” she said.
She went on to complete a child youth worker degree before moving to Saskatchewan in 2013 to work as a youth care worker at Eagle’s Nest Youth Ranch. Jordanne hopes to keep working with younger children after she graduates. Working in a school in a northern community is of particular interest to her—a challenge she feels prepared for, given her past experience and education.
“The struggles they have there are different from the ones we have here,” she said, adding that regardless of where she ends up teaching, she wants to act as an advocate for her students.
Jordanne’s cohort, Christina Luross, has a similar disposition for helping others. Born and raised in Saskatoon, Christina always looked forward to the future and knew she wanted to make a difference—whether by joining student council in high school or organizing bottle drives to send less-fortunate children to summer camp.
“We all want to make a difference in the lives of others—specifically young children—and have a positive impact,” she said.
Christina is currently working as an educational assistant in the Saskatoon Public School system while completing her studies. She would like to complete a French degree and work as a French immersion teacher. This means, of course, spending a little extra time as a student herself, but she doesn’t mind—the calling card of a true teacher.
“I love school,” said Christina, a self-affirmed lifelong learner.
Jordanne and Christina both acknowledge the exceptional gift left by Marion Clarke that allowed them to reach their own educational goals.
“Our hope is that people recognize the significance of the generosity from donors like Marion Clarke whose vision and passion has empowered students to further study early childhood education,” said Jordanne.
“If Marion Clarke was here today, my hope would be that she could see the incredible impact her gift has had on creating inspired and passionate early childhood educators,” added Christina.