Entrevue avec Sheila Quinn

Dans la région, la culture anglophone et francophone se marient à merveille. Cette entrevue est présenté dans cette esprit.

1. Décrivez nous ce que vous faites.

By trade I am a Special Care Counselor, a graduate of the Class of 2000 of Champlain College in Lennoxville.  I have crafted another path in life in media, writing as a newspaper columnist for The Record for eight years, and produced my own radio show out of CJMQ in Lennoxville for five years.  I wrapped up my show two years ago, but ache to go back to radio!  I loved it so much.  DH Radio was a pop culture show, featuring many up-and-coming and well-established artists and performers from around the world.  Among my favourite interviews were Gowan, Neil Finn of Crowded House, Sarah Blackwood (now with super-band Walk Off The Earth), Canadian performer Royal Wood, and First Nations artist and advocate Louie Gong.

Currently, however, my life has taken a major turn in a different direction. I am working full-time with my son Angus (who is almost fourteen years old), who has Autism.  Last year we experienced a heartbreaking situation with his specialized school, and rather than continue with them, I have begun working with him through a school I created for him, called The Cove School (École de l’Anse).  Angus’s future hinges on the next few years, as he grows and changes as a person.  The Eastern Townships School Board has enthusiastically agreed to work with me to help build community and an education plan that will suit Angus’s needs, and also be something sustainable for the school board and for us as well.  As a result, Angus is registered at Massey Vanier High School, and we are innovating his education together.  We are in the very early baby steps, but it is very, very encouraging.  Deciding to do this with Angus has been the best thing I’ve ever done.  This is a big change for him, as he had lived almost full-time with their Dad, but we’re all working together to create a great life for Angus, who is adjusting well to the change.  The Cove School’s motto is Amor Discere Lux Natare (Latin for Love Learn Light Swim).

2. Ce que vous aimez le plus dans votre travail

Innovation, education, creativity are my favourite things, and sense of belonging is my purpose in life!

3. Une leçon de vie que vous aimeriez partager

IMG_4687.JPGI am a firm believer in the power of attraction – and while I’m not yet at a point where I can steer my thoughts the way I know I should all of the time, I’m getting there.  I think it is a work in progress….but that determination that great things can happen has yielded impressive results in my life.  From 2006 – 2010, I worked as a high school librarian in my hometown of Richmond, Quebec, at Richmond Regional High School.  That library had saved me as an awkward teenager, as I devoured books (at thirteen I was just beginning to enjoy reading about things that frightened me – and even though I had been scared of just about everything, I loved Stephen King’s books).  I found myself working with a kind of « fringe » of the school population and am still in touch with those kids, who are now all in their twenties.  I am working on a book series myself now, and that will be partly dedicated to those incredible souls who spent time in my library.  We tend to be very hard on youth – not understanding them and criticizing their choices, but what we really need to do is walk with them, and listen to them.  When they feel heard and loved they make much better decisions.  Over twenty years I worked with elementary, high school and college levels, and I feel it is an honour to accompany youth through growing up.

4. La réalisation dont vous dont vous êtes le plus fier

I am the most proud of my family.  My sons Angus and Leander are without a doubt my favourite creation.  We are a blended family, and we work to make four households make sense together – mine, my boys’ Dad and his girlfriend, my boyfriend and his children’s mother and husband.  My step daughter and stepson are the same ages as my own sons, and while things can be challenging, they can also be really fun.  We have just joined a hiking group called Les Amis des Sentiers, and we can’t wait to take the kids out with them!  The group hikes every Saturday throughout the Townships – a perfect way to get out and move, do something simple and inexpensive and get to know this absolutely spectacular region we live in!  Could it be any more beautiful?!  I don’t think so!
On a personal level, I am very proud of the media life I built myself.  I had the opportunity to work for a while as a music reviewer – it was so exciting to receive albums that were hot off of the presses, often by musicians that were just taking off.  I have been music obsessed forever.  One of the meanings of the name Sheila is « lover of music » – how is that for destiny?

5. Un événement mémorableWhere to begin?!  There are so many.  Maybe the one that stands out for me these days is how in 2008 I was part of a team that was participating in a fundraiser for cancers below the waste.  As a part of the publicity for the group, I was invited to participate in La Fête de la Grenouille (or Aqua Fête) in Chambly.  Every year, thousands of people ride the rapids down the river….without a boat!  After getting fitted for our dry suits and trying out a trial two-minute descent, my two coaches, Adam and Joey, and I road the rapids for twelve minutes.  I had been very nervous during the short descent, but during the full descent, I felt such a huge sense of peace.  You are at the mercy of the water.  You are instructed not to « swim » because you will tire easily – rather, you are instructed to let go and let the rapids take you.  Even through « La Gueule du Loup », the roughest portion of the rapids, I just remembered what I was told – « Take a deep breath, hang onto your mask, and down you go!  After about ten seconds you’ll be out the other side. »  All I could see were bubbles – almost like I was in a cartoon!  I came out the other side, and was so energized.  I’m nowhere near an adrenaline junkie, but I do love challenging myself.  This year, when we experienced problems with my son Angus’s education, I felt like I was drowning….like the whole family was drowning.  I kept having to tell myself that I would only « drown » if I panicked.  I needed to let myself go with the flow, and pay attention, and things would not only stop being so scary, they had the potential to be better than they were before.  I never thought those rapids would lead to such an important life lesson.  I think when we challenge ourselves, that’s what we need to remember – that every challenge can serve to get us through what life brings…and sometimes opportunities and real growth are disguised in situations that we feel we don’t want, or that we resist.

6. Une personne qui vous a beaucoup influencer ou aider

There are so many people in this category.  My son Angus has taught me more about patience than anyone else.  My son Leander has taught me more about joy than anyone else.  I don’t know what I’d do without my mother, who has been a single parent since our father died of cancer in 1993.  My brothers have taught me that three people can be raised in the same household and be completely different, and still be united by love and laughter (and rock ‘n roll).  My boyfriend has helped me understand how introverts navigate the world, to learn how to trust, and how to not give up on love.  My best friends have taught me millions of lessons, and most of them involve laughing until your sides hurt, and dancing until closing time – they are my compass.  I would be lost without them.  I have so many heroes, and I don’t know where I’d be without Wolfman Jack, Vincent Price, Captain Janeway, Judy Blume, Edgar Allan Poe, Edward Gorey, Iris Apfel, Caitlin Moran, Tim Burton and my grades five and six teacher, Deborah Banks.

7. Vos  coups de coeur de la région

La suite

You can follow Cove School/École de l’Anse on Facebook at www.facebook.com/coveschool/, and reach me at selquidesign@gmail.com

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