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Sheridan graduate wins Premier’s Award, says it’s a message to community ‘anything is possible’

Nov 19, 2021
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Sheridan graduate Michelle John, a Fire/Life Safety Education Officer at the City of Brampton, has received the Premier’s Award for Community Services for her passionate commitment to the  safety of Brampton’s residents.  Michelle John

John, a 1990 graduate of Sheridan’s Legal Office Administration program, received the award at a virtual ceremony on Thursday. The Premier’s Awards honour the important social and economic contributions that college graduates make to Ontario and the world, and are administered by Colleges Ontario.

“When I got accepted at Sheridan as a student, I never thought there’d be a day when I’d receive an award in recognition of my work,” a delighted John said upon receiving the honour. She also had a powerful message for the community. 

“I hope this award inspires women of colour to see the value in working hard and the value in investing in themselves through college education. I’d like people in my community to see that anything is possible and they’re not limited because of the colour of their skin,” she said.
An immigrant from Trinidad & Tobago and a single mother of three, John is a profile in courage. She joined Brampton Fire Service as an administrative assistant, and worked toward her current position, taking diploma and certificate courses to expand her knowledge of fire safety and prevention while working full-time. She has been educating Brampton’s community in fire safety for the last 10 years. 

“We're so proud of Michelle’s commitment to the community and the life-saving work that she does,” says Dr. Janet Morrison, Sheridan’s President and Vice Chancellor. “She is an incredible role model for our students and graduates. Her resilience and determination are deeply inspiring, and her career success is an important reminder of what's possible when people stay focused on realizing their goals.”

 Learn more about Michelle John:

John is the 18th Sheridan graduate to receive a Premier’s Award since the celebration’s inception 29 years ago. Other notable alumni to receive the award include  award winning animators, a bestselling author and illustrator, and an Emmy-award winning casting director. Colleges Ontario launched the Premier’s Awards in 1992 to mark the 25th anniversary of Ontario’s colleges. They are presented in seven categories: Apprenticeship, Business, Community Services, Creative Arts and Design, Health Sciences, Recent Graduate, and Technology. Sheridan’s other nominees this year were:

  • In the Apprenticeship Category, Steve Henry (Tool and Die Maker ’00), Director of Apprenticeship and Training at Magna International Inc., was nominated for his advocacy for careers in the trades and for ensuring skilled trades education keeps pace with evolving manufacturing needs.
  • In the Business category, Derrick Ross (Business ’86), President, Slaight Music, was nominated for his support of the Canadian music industry.
  • In the Creative Arts and Design category, Carol Sebert (Craft & Design, Fabrics ’80), Founder of Creative Matters, a renowned designer and creator of custom fair-trade floor and wall coverings, was nominated for building a successful business based on the highest ethical and environmental standards. 
  • In the Health Sciences category, Paul Papoutsakis (Sports Injury Management ’00), was nominated for his exceptional work in sports injury management. 
  • In the Technology category, Ryan Andal (Interactive Multimedia ’05), President and Co-Founder of two-time Emmy Award-winning Secret Location, was nominated for his achievements as a virtual reality pioneer.
  • In the Recent Graduate category, Muluba Habanyama (Journalism-Broadcast ’16), Ambassador for the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, was nominated for her exceptional courage in giving voice to people living with HIV-AIDS.

“Congratulations to all of our nominated alumni,” says Morrison. “Each of them demonstrates the excellence and impact our alumni have in a wide breadth of sectors across our community.”

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