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Back in the classroom again

Gisella Fradsham happy to be studying again

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Dec 14/01) - After 27 years, Gisella Fradsham decided the time was right to return to school.

When her youngest son began Grade 1 in the fall, it freed up enough of her day to register for adult basic education at Aurora College.

NNSL Photo

Gisella Fradsham is hitting the books again after 27 years. She's enrolled in the adult basic education program at Aurora College in Fort Simpson. - Derek Neary/NNSL photo

"I'm glad I'm back in school ... instead of sitting at home watching four walls or driving around," she said.

The last time she was in a classroom was at age 18 when she attended W.P. Wagner, a trade school in Edmonton. She was taking a building construction and automotive course, but she never completed it.

"I decided to go to work, to make money and get my own things," she said.

As fate would have it, she met her future husband, Gerard, got married the next year and then moved to the Yellowknife. Their growing family moved to Fort Simpson in 1991. Gisella held down a number of different jobs over the years -- in a bakery, as a taxi driver and in hotels.

Coping with a chronic arm injury, she contemplated a return to school over the past three years.

"My husband said, 'Why don't you go for it?'"

So she did in September, and she has astounded many people in the process, she said. "My little boy was surprised that I go to school too," she said, smiling. "Actually I like it. I'm learning a lot."

Her days are now filled with current events, English grammar and spelling, math, typing and learning how to properly format letters. She recently scored 74 per cent on a computer exam and 100 per cent on an English assignment.

After school she goes home and does her homework before getting supper ready.

"Then I help Colin (her youngest) with his homework. One of these days I'm going to get his homework mixed up with mine," she joked.

Gisella said she is planning to take a course on office procedures next year and then look for work as a secretary.

Barb Tsetso, an Aurora College instructor, said Gisella's commitment and enthusiasm help to motivate other students.

"She's always here on time and she's the first one to hand in her assignments," said Tsetso. "She's excited about learning. As an instructor you like to have those kinds of students. It makes your job a lot easier."