Florence Sicoli – Chaney-Ensign Bursary Fund

I attended Cathedral Girl’s and Central high schools in downtown Hamilton, graduating from what was then Grade 13 in 1966. I then earned a bachelor in journalism from Ryerson University in Toronto and soon started a long career in journalism, including about 15 years as a reporter and editor at The Hamilton Spectator in Hamilton, as well as The Star, The Globe & Mail in Toronto, and as a freelancer in Rome, Italy.

I cannot recall how I learned about the Chaney Ensign Bursary Fund, but as a reporter, I knew about the Foundation. I am currently retired as health editor at The Hamilton Spectator, and am working part-time as an arts & entertainment and lifestyle copy editor at Postmedia Editorial Services in Hamilton.

I was not your usual “young” person looking to get into university. I was a middle-aged person in mid-career who really desired more education than my bachelor degree afforded me. I wanted more intellectual stimulation and advancement in my career and saw a post-graduate study program as the way to achieve these goals.

As a single parent with a daughter to care for, I found it financially prohibitive to give up a full-time salary to study. However, I was very committed to the goal and with a little help from the Foundation, I was able to earn a Master’s degree from York in 1992 and then go on to do most of a PhD program (all but dissertation, which I may return to now that I’m semi-retired) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

I’ve always thought that journalists should be very well educated because the task of writing to convey information etc. to readers is a very substantial responsibility that requires a lot of skill, knowledge and experience to carry out. I felt my undergrad degree wasn’t all that I wanted from the academic world, and earning my master’s and doing most of the work required for a PhD gave me not only more knowledge but also helped sharpen my intellectual skills and boosted my confidence at work and our community.

If I could say anything to Genevieve A. Chaney & Cordelia C. Ensign, I would say “thanks.” Your generosity really makes and enriches other people’s lives and enables them to better contribute to our community and society.