Jamie Frazier was raised by her cousin Shelly for a large part of her life.
Originally from Guysborough N.S., she graduated from Guysborough Academy, a small K-12 school, in 2008.
She chose St. Thomas University because it’s a leader in liberal arts and she was interested in the social work program it offered. She now majors in psychology and sociology and minors in criminology.
She feels that social work, especially the child-protection area, needs work.
“I want to make a difference and I think that I would be able to,” she said.
She made the decision to run for class valedictorian because she feels that she’s somewhat well known and wants to be part of a winning cheer.
“Nobody got here in their academic career alone,” she said. “Let me thank STU for you.”
Originally, she never intended to study criminology let alone minor in it. After taking a class with Dawne Clarke, she became interested in it. Frazier said Clarke’s passion for the subject rubbed off on her.
Besides Clarke, Frazier said there are two others who have had a big influence on her: Lauren Eagle, residence life office coordinator, and Gayle MacDonald, a sociology professor.
Over her years at STU, she’s lived at all campus residences except for Holy Cross House. She’s now a residence advisor in Chatham Hall.
A big grin crosses Colin Belyea’s face while he thinks about life in Rigby Hall.
Hailing from Saint John, Belyea has called Rigby Hall his home away from home since he drove up to it with his parents in his first-year.
As soon as he arrived, Belyea said he was “hit with a wave of friendship.”
Soon after arriving, he joined the men’s rugby club. He feels the club embodies all of what he experienced when he drove up that first day.
“It’s my duty to share that as well as I can,” he said.
After graduating from St. Malachy’s Memorial High school in 2008, he decided to come to STU because of one main reason: his mother went to STU.
Belyea said he wanted to “live up to expectations.”
An English and great ideas major with a minor in psychology, Belyea said he’s grateful for the many people who have helped him in school.
After graduation, he hopes to teach English in South Korea. Based on how he likes that, he plans to go back to school to work for either an education or law degree.
Shane Fowler describes himself as the old guy in class.
And it’s hard to imagine the 27-year-old triple major as he was in his early life.
He wants to be class valedictorian, so he can thank STU for giving him a chance again and again – and again – at his first real graduation ceremony.
“I owe it to St. Thomas.”
During his time at Oromocto High School, he didn’t do particularly well. He had to take a correspondence course in order to graduate, and he didn’t get his diploma until after the high school graduation ceremony.
The first thing after that though, was leave the province. He worked at a ski resort in British Columbia for a year.
“[It’s] where I learned how to drink,” he said.
He came back to New Brunswick, enrolled at St. Thomas and started taking sociology and history courses.
But he didn’t do too well there, either. He was kicked out of STU for having bad grades.
After spending the rest of the year working as a waiter, he re-applied for STU and was accepted.
His second year went a little better than the first, but he still failed the majority of his classes. He was kicked out again.
After his second attempt at university life, Fowler took a job bartending. He ended up bartending in various bars around Fredericton for five years.
“I just lived at the bars,” he said.
“It was a hell of a life…it wasn’t a life. It was…meh.”
He got into a relationship with a waitress at one of the bars he worked at. She pushed him to go back to school and try one more time.
And so he quit his bartending job and applied one more time to STU. In 2010, they decided to give him one more chance.
Now studying journalism, sociology, history and even taking some science courses at UNB, with a bit of help, Fowler has literally turned his academic life around.
“I’ve never been proud of myself before,” said Fowler.
If you ask her, she’s from Pine Falls, Man. She refuses to call it Powerview-Pine Falls like it’s officially named.
Elizabeth Fraser graduated from Ecole Powerview School in 2008. She was in a graduating class of 27 that year.
Though she lived in Manitoba her whole life, her parents are from New Brunswick. Having met at the University of New Brunswick, they wanted their daughter to follow in their footsteps. So they brought her to UNB and took her on a tour of the campus.
While walking around, she asked her parents what the strange clump of buildings further up the hill was.
Her mother told her to ignore them, that they belong to another university.
Insisting, Fraser and her parents walked up to the buildings to find them virtually deserted. Except for a custodian.
The custodian showed them around the comparatively smaller campus. It was love at first sight.
That’s when Fraser was first introduced to St. Thomas University, the school she was fated to attend, to the dismay of her mother.
She wants to give the valedictorian speech at STU’s graduating class because she has “a passion for STU” and the people at STU.
During her first year here, anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for Fraser.
She got in a car accident. She lost a member of her family. She even started getting death threats.
But as time went on, things got better. She began to get more involved in the community life at STU.
Eventually she moved out of on-campus residences and into an off-campus residence, where she met the roommates she says helped her make it through school.
“I wouldn’t have been able to finish without them,” she said.
When she left her friends and family in Manitoba, she said it was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do, running stoplights, breaking out in a rash and crying all the way. She expects that leaving STU will end up the same way for her.
And don’t worry STU, Fraser promises she will not bring her bagpipes to graduation.
Tom Creagh decided to run for valedictorian because he wants to give the speech that he would want to hear.
“[I] hope that people vote for the kind of speech they want to hear,” said Creagh.
“After all my involvement at STU, it would be a good way to end off.”
Creagh said maturity shows in his platform for valedictorian. He promises people he will be “well dressed, well spoken, insightful and appropriately humorous.”
Coming to university from high school was “a whole new ball game” for Creagh.
He had more free time when he started here and the challenge was learning what to do with it.
“It takes maturity,” said Creagh, who says he grew a lot while at St. Thomas University.
Creagh is from Woodstock N.B., the province’s first town.
The “serious and mature” student graduated from Woodstock High School in 2008. While there, he was actively involved in school, including playing the lead in his school’s production of High School Musical in Grade 12.
“It’s a little embarrassing,” said Creagh.
When he was looking for universities to go to, he heard about STU’s Aquinas program. It interested him and he applied.
He was accepted into STU, his first choice, and soon became an active member of the STU community as well. Staying at an on-campus residences each year, he became residence coordinator for Holy Cross House this year.
Creagh majors in political science and English. He also minors in philosophy and expects to get an honours in great ideas.
He said three teachers helped him get to this point in his academic career: Sara MacDonald, Barry Craig and Roger Wilkie.
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