Work pays off for medallist

June 10, 2004, vol. 30, no. 4
By Howard Fluxgold

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Wendy Bell knows the value of work. It played an important role in her success in the faculty of education where she has won the dean's medal as the top undergraduate.

Now 37, Bell did not embark on her quest for a degree until she was 32. “I was quite young when I graduated from high school and I couldn't decide what I wanted to do,” she recalls.

With an interest in art, she enrolled in an art and merchandising diploma program. “But halfway through, I decided it was not for me, although I did complete the program,” she says.

Instead, she went to work at a bottling company where her career path led to jobs as executive secretary to two vice-presidents. In her last job before returning to school she was a personal assistant to the chairman and CEO at David T.K. Ho Enterprises Ltd. “It became clear to me, however, that I needed to go back to school and I wanted to go back,” she explains.

When she did return, first to Douglas College and then SFU, she found that her organizational skills, learned on the job, made studying a lot easier. “I found that I fell very easily into the role of being a student,” Bell notes.

“I didn't miss any classes in my four and a half years of study. My organization skills were key to achieving the grades, while working part-time and still having time for a social life.” Those organizing skills and hard work produced a cumulative grade point average of 4.12 out of a possible 4.33.

Bell, who graduated last October, has spent the year as an on-call elementary teacher in Coquitlam and New Westminster, where she lives.

“I strongly believe that being an on-call teacher is an invaluable experience,” she says. “It will allow me to be a better teacher when I have my own classroom.”

In the meantime, she will continue to pursue her passion for teaching, perhaps in a full time role.

“One of the great appeals for me in becoming a teacher was that it puts me in the privileged position of helping others learn while being a lifelong learner myself.”

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