Out of five graduating students, just one had ambitions to continue to work in the north. Those who are leaving are chasing jobs, a better education, or a more densely populated environment that offers the kind of diversity and culture that can’t be found in Timmins.
Here are some of the Timmins High & Vocational School graduating class of 2017 in their own words:
Hannah Yee — Hannah plans to move south after she graduates.
“For me it’s just opportunity. And I question where I’d be able to question more opportunities culturally in terms of career-wise and educationally. And that’s where the best programs are. I have some family down there, which kind of helps with that transition. And I’m going to end up working down south in a big city probably with a bigger firm.”
“It was nice to grow up in Timmins but I’m excited to experience new things. That’s just the kind of person I am.”
Andrea Pintar — Andrea is unsure about whether she’ll stay in Timmins after graduation.
“I don’t want to stay in Timmins, but I’m kind of just leaving my options open. So if something happened and I got a really good job here, I would potentially come back here. But I am kind of hoping to leave Timmins and move to a bigger city. I guess if I did it wouldn’t be bad or anything because my parents are staying somewhat in town. They’re just moving out to our cottage, so I would have my family. But it would be hard because all of our friends are leaving. There’s not going to be a lot of people left. So I just wanted to get out and start a new life.”
Tyrell Bien Aime — Tyrell Bien Aime is unsure if he is going to stay in Timmins next year.
“Right now, I’d be very excited to leave Timmins because I’ve been here for a really long time. Growing up, there’s not much to do. It would be nice to leave Timmins, but maybe one day I’ll go back. Maybe I will be excited to go back to remember the memories I have. So right now it would be exciting to leave, but it would also be exciting to come back.”
It would take a miracle to get him to stay:
“If some sort of opportunity or a good job, something miraculous really, I don’t see myself staying here within a year or two. Unless something crazy happens, I guess I’m leaving. But if something good crazy happens, I’m staying here.”
“I noticed a lot of my friends have big aspirations for leaving Timmins. Even my family says it’s a really good idea to get out of Timmins. It’s encouraged that you leave Timmins and move on and start building your life. You don’t build your life here, you build it in other places. It’s not happening here. That’s what’s instilled.”
Emma Etherington — Emma moved to Timmins from Moosonee and will be studying nursing at Laurentian University after she graduates.
“I am First Nations and I have lived further up north than Timmins and, to me, that’s the way I’ve always lived. It’s part of my values and who I am. If I do finish the nursing program and work as a nurse, I definitely want to serve northern communities and First Nation communities further up north,” Etherington said during a panel discussion on TVO's The Agenda With Steve Paikin recorded in Timmins and airing tonight.
Jared Wagner — Jared might come back to Timmins after university.
“It’s certainly a possibility. I think that after university, what will be the primary driving force towards me moving will be career opportunities. I’d like to work in controls engineering, and, depending on the job, that can bring you to different places. There are certainly jobs in Timmins; in the mining industry they have to hire controls engineers to work on the job sites. But I’m not sure whether it will bring me back here or not.”
Employment is the big draw to the south: “Definitely jobs. Jobs are a little less in Timmins than I would like. If you’re someone who is outdoorsy, it’s a pull there. To come back to Timmins, for me, it would be primarily job-related. I’m involved in my school’s robotics team and I’d like to mentor them in some capacity. That could be a pull factor.”
Interviews were conducted by producer Cara Stern except where otherwise indicated. They have been edited for length and clarity.
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