Balancing work, family, class work and community commitments was challenging at times, but Donna Brewitt Whetstone reached her goal of graduating from Brock University Friday, Oct. 15 with a Bachelor of Education in Adult Education.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented further challenges as Whetstone’s role at work expanded to include being part of the COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response team for an agency in her hometown of Grey County.
During Convocation Friday, she was recognized for her community contributions by being named the undergraduate recipient of the Brock Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock Medal.
Whetstone completed her degree full-time while working as a human resources director in Developmental Services. She chose Brock because of the online Adult Education program and Brock’s reputation for its Bachelor of Education programs.
Despite longer working hours and a busy schedule, Whetstone continued to volunteer in her community during her time at Brock. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grey Bruce and values being able to be part of building positive relationships through youth mentorship.
“The children and youth of our communities are our future and this focus is very important to me,” Whetstone said. “Regardless of my educational commitment, work and family priorities, it was something that I did not want to compromise.”
Whetstone is also an elected member of a community legal clinic, helping people who require access to legal support navigate community resources and services.
Being recognized for making a difference through her community involvement and work is a highlight of Whetstone’s Brock experience.
“I am extremely honoured and have the utmost gratitude to so many that I shared my education journey with, who provided a foundation to learn and be successful,” said Whetstone.
From faculty to fellow students, Whetstone said she learned from everyone she interacted with at Brock. She is also grateful for the support of her family while she completed her degree.
“Without my family I couldn’t have pursued, committed to and accomplished this goal,” she said.
While the journey was daunting at times, she describes her time in the program as a rewarding and wonderful experience because she was able to interact and learn with other students from across Canada who were working toward the same goal.