Just one week into his first year at Seneca, Eric Hetindra Teekharam suffered a life-threatening injury. What followed next was a year of hard work, fight and determination. Now, back on his feet and back at school, Eric has a second chance to fulfill his dream. And he's not giving it up.
Teaching children is like a blessing to me. It's one of my passions. Watching them smile as they learn is something that I love.
When I left high school I thought I wanted to go into business marketing. That's what I majored in. But it never really felt comfortable to me. I just didn't find it interesting. At the time, I had started teaching Sunday school at a New Apostolic church that friends of mine attended. I'm not Christian myself. I'm actually Hindu. But learning the religion and teaching it to the children was something that really attracted me. That's where I became interested in teaching, and it was the inspiration for me to go into Early Childhood Education.
"I want to learn everything I can about child development – the physical, cognitive, social aspects, all of it – so I can take that knowledge into my future teaching career."
I actually started at Seneca in September of 2012. I was excited, I couldn't wait. But then, in the first week of classes, I suffered a stroke-like symptom and ended up in a coma. A month later, I woke up in a rehabilitation facility, where I spent the next eight months learning how to walk again. Every morning I would wake up and say to myself, I have to walk again because I have to start school. And so every day I pushed myself to relearn how to walk.
I started back at Seneca the following year. It was a goal I really wanted to accomplish and I fought for it. Ever since then, I truly believe that setting goals is really important. Because once you set goals, you will do whatever it takes to achieve them. My goal is to become a teacher. After Seneca, I definitely will continue to university to study child development. And then lean towards teacher's college.
My experience at Seneca has been great. The professors are really helping me out. They know about my injury. I'm working with the disability service team. They are so wonderful. I don't look back at my injury and feel as though I'm not like the other kids. The people at Seneca, the professors, they will support you and teach you as much as you want. I am so thankful to be here.
"I just want to do whatever it takes to teach children properly. Watching how they learn just opens my mind so that I want to learn more too."
Katelyn went from Seneca student to being a voice for those without one.