Shawville January 15, 2023
Two Pontiac nursing students received the Deborah Smith Scholarship bursary last weekend. The scholarship fund was founded in memory of Debbie Smith, a nurse from the area who was killed by a distracted driver while driving home from Renfrew one night after work in 2014
Morgan Benoit and Tori Cartier were each the recipients of a $500 donation from the scholarship.
Benoit is a third year nursing student at Heritage College in Gatineau and a former student at Pontiac High School. She is interested in working in labour and delivery when finished her studies and would like to return to the Pontiac to work.
Cartier is a nursing student at Cégep de l’Outaouais and graduate of Ecole secondaire Sieur de Coulonge.
“I’ve always loved the hospital atmosphere. And after my mom was sick, I knew I definitely wanted to help out and be a part of the care team,” said Cartier about why she wants to be a nurse.
“She’s a very caring person,” said Cartier’s mom, Janet Judd. “I know for sure that she is going to be an excellent nurse someday. And she went to school with Debbie’s daughters. So, she was a part of knowing her at the time that she was in her accident. So it warms your heart to know that it came from her family.”
Cartier said she is looking to transfer to Heritage College in order to finish her studies in English and go on to be a part of providing better care to anglophones in the province, which she thinks is lacking.
Susan Smith, who runs the Scholarship Fund along with her and Debbie’s mom, Cecile Smith, said that the scholarship is for any Pontiac resident who is attending a registered nursing program. Preference is given to people who had some connection with Debbie during her life.
Susan added that she’s not seeing a lot of new students going into nursing programs from the Pontiac over the past year. She hopes that new students take up the calling in the years to come, though is sympathetic to the fact the process has become a lot more difficult.
Anyone can apply for the bursary at www.rememberdebbie.com. Previous year recipients are also encouraged to reapply in case there are no new students applying.
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