In 1967, Sylvia was 30, with a young daughter and no formal education. She’d once dreamed of being a teacher, but without a high school diploma, what was she going to do?
She started taking night classes, but that was taking too long. So by special permission, she attended school during the day “with the kids”. She completed her high school diploma. Next, she took night classes at Langara College and then, she was accepted into SFU’s teaching program.
After seven years of incredible determination, Sylvia began teaching primary school in the Burnaby School District. But she didn’t stop there - she continued to study at night and in the summer to attain her Bachelor of General Studies.
Sylvia taught until retiring in 1999. She remembers those years as the happiest of her life, “…every child was a joy, each day full of creativity and love.”
Three generations of Sylvia’s family have or currently attend SFU. She believes strongly that higher education opens doors to life’s exciting opportunities. With foresight and generosity, she established the Sylvia Clarke Endowment Fund with a gift in her will; to fund an undergraduate bursary for future students in the Faculty of Education.
Sylvia wanted to give leg up to students who share her drive, passion and commitment, and through this gift, her legacy of access to education will live on!