Curtis Brown originally had hoped to play soccer for Cape Breton University but due to injury, his team involvement took an unexpected turn. Still excited about the Bachelor of Arts Community Studies (BACS) program and the promise of being able to further his education, Curtis was looking forward to experiencing the great things his father had to say about the East Coast. While chatting with Coach Deano Morely, Curtis was offered the position of Student Manager for the Men’s Soccer Team and was given the opportunity to practice with the team. Very excited about this opportunity and all the other advantages of coming to CBU, Curtis made the move from Ottawa to Cape Breton. After completing his BACS degree, Curtis enrolled in CBU’s Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) program, from which he is now graduating.
During his time in the B.Ed. program, one of Curtis’ favorite classes was Sustainable Happiness taught by Catherine O’Brien, Professor of Education. This class explored the topic of mental health, something Curtis is very passionate about due to his own mental health challenges. Each class began with the sharing of good news while practicing loving-kindness meditation. “It was a very positive experience and I enjoyed it thoroughly,” says Curtis. After putting in many hours of hard work on mindfulness and meditation, he is happy to say he is thriving. As a way to give back, Curtis was able to work with the CBU’s counselling staff to put on a wellness program on resilience.
What Curtis enjoyed most about the BACS and B.Ed. programs was the opportunity to work with children and connect with his classmates. “I have made friendships that will last a lifetime within both of my programs,” he says. One of Curtis’ highlights at CBU was working with Jennifer Billard, Student Life and Community Engagement Coordinator. He was hired within a cohort who became great friends.
Looking back at his time spent at CBU, Curtis is proud that he now feels confident to take on the future. “My social skills improved massively as I recovered from mental health challenges,” he shares. “Now I feel extremely resilient and grounded in who I am as a person. The world is my oyster!” Currently, Curtis is about to start supply teaching in Ottawa. In January, he will be attending Saint Paul’s University where he will complete a Master of Spirituality and Counselling.
Curtis says, “My dad told me the East Coast is a very special place because of how friendly the people are. He was definitely correct.” To anyone thinking of coming to CBU, Curtis’ advice is, “You will fall in love with CBU. Enjoy every moment because one day you will wake up and realize your time flew by. I am so grateful to have met amazing individuals at CBU and it is no doubt, a very special place.”
“We need to stay optimistic and grateful for everything we have,” Curtis shares of graduating during a worldwide pandemic. “It is very unfortunate but life goes on.” To his fellow B.Ed. graduates, Curtis says, “Congratulations my good friends! Keep crushing it out there as teachers. I know you will all be very successful.” Curtis extends a special thanks to his friends, Kurtis Briand, Emma Roland, Allie Campbell, and Nicole Sloan, “I will miss you all.”
Congratulations to Curtis and the Fall 2020 Graduating Class!