Camille Rivard-Sirois, Madeline Korfman Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Congratulations to Camille Rivard-Sirois, one of our two Madeline Korfman Memorial Scholarship recipients!

Here is what her nominator had to say:

“Camille is obviously passionate about teaching. Whether classes are online or in person, Camille is always engaged and inquisitive about the concepts brought forward. In field experiences, Camille has developed close relationships with her students and planned great experiences for them; she was really reflective about her practice.”

“It really touched my heart to receive this award and I feel very privileged. Going back to school to receive my Bachelor of Education has involved a lot of sacrifices for myself and my young family, and so having this incredible recognition feels like this journey and those sacrifices have been worth it. It’s such a good feeling, like a warm blanket!” says Camille with a smile. “At the end of the day, teaching is all about love. The love for the children, and teaching itself and all the time that goes into it.”


After graduating from university in Quebec with a degree in Biology and specialization in ecology, Camille Rivard-Sirois began her career as a biologist – and then decided to move across the country.

Despite never visiting the Okanagan before, Camille took a chance and accepted a job opportunity with the Okanagan Nation Alliance in Penticton, B.C.

“I accepted the job without really knowing anything about the Okanagan. I went on Google Earth and saw the lakes, the rock-climbing area and thought this place looks like paradise,” says Camille. “It was love at first sight with the Syilx territory.”

Camille was part of the team that worked on restoring the sockeye salmon habitat in the Okanagan, and was involved in various other ecological projects over 14 years. During that time, she met her partner and had two children. While she enjoyed her work, she found herself growing increasingly interested in the field of education.

“I had always been attracted to education. When I was younger, I enjoyed teaching swimming, sports and math to different age groups,” she says. “I also wanted an opportunity to reconnect with my francophone culture by sharing my love for the language with others.”

Now more than halfway through the program, Camille is looking forward to her internship at a francophone school in Penticton. She, along with her peers, recently reflected on what they’ve learned and experienced in the last eleven months at a Celebration of Learning.

“When I was in school, it was a much more traditional transceiver-receiver model of education and now I’ve been introduced to so many other ways of teaching and learning that are more inclusive, engaging and really put children at the center.”

In addition to having her perspectives of education shift, she’s found a new interest in drama and music.

“I was given a ukulele and have started to learn to play it,” says Camille with a laugh. “I never really liked drama or music in school, but now for the first time in my life I’m so drawn to it. The program has opened me up to new learning opportunities and introduced me to so many incredible people.”

For those interested in pursuing their Bachelor of Education degree, Camille encourages students to invest time in their organization system.

“We’re exposed to so many ideas, resources and materials in this program. Find a system that works for you to organize your strategies, lesson plans, resources and references because you’re only exposed to a little bit of a huge universe, and having a good system to organize yourself allows you easy access to those tools when you need them down the road.”


About the Scholarship

This scholarship has been endowed through a bequest by Madeline Betty Korfman to honour her love for teaching. Madeline Korfman taught school in southwestern Saskatchewan before relocating to the Okanagan in the mid-1900s. This scholarship is awarded to two teacher candidates who significantly demonstrate a “love for teaching” based on the recommendation of Okanagan School of Education faculty.

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