Laurels
Real Adults. Real Stories. Real Life.
Follow real Newfoundlanders' life-changing journey.
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Hayley's Story - Finding Out
How finding support helped her find her way
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Into the unknown

On Hayley’s first day as a student at the Discovery Centre, she was nervous — how could she know that she’d find the support and guidance she’d been missing since she lost her Pop?

“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up for my first day. I was pretty nervous,” says Hayley. “I just told myself ‘You can do this’, and walked through those doors.”

A warm welcome

Hayley’s anxiety was put to rest when she realized that the staff at the Discovery Centre was there to help her feel welcome, safe, and supported.

“They really made me feel like I was at home,” remembers Hayley. “They showed me that they cared about me and how I was feeling. They made me feel like I could just be myself.”

Hayley began to feel hope

Making the decision to finish high school as an adult and taking that ‘first step’ was huge for her.

Hayley knew she’d continue to need support, encouragement, and flexibility as she navigated her path to success. Would she find what she needed to turn her life around?.

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Cameron's Story - A new Goal
Finding focus helped him change his game
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First-day jitters

When Cameron walked through the doors of the Discovery Centre on his first day as a student, he came with with mixed emotions. Staying focused in high school was a challenge for him, so he wasn’t sure what to expect returning as an adult.

“I was nervous, I was excited — I had a lot of thoughts running through my head,” he recalled. “I remember asking myself, ‘Am I gonna get the support I need? Is this the place that’s gonna help me get this done?’”

A fine crowd

Cameron’s worries about maintaining his focus disappeared when he realized that the Discovery Centre’s staff understood his needs as an adult student.

“At the Discovery Centre, it’s completely different from ‘regular’ high school,” said Cameron. “It’s adults dealing with adults. They treat you with respect and they really listen to you. It’s like night and day from my first experience.”

Cameron started to see a future

Admitting that he needed to finish high school to stop being ‘stuck in a rut’ with lower-paying jobs and fewer opportunities was a big step for Cameron.

He knew he’d need respect, support, and good advice to help him stay on track. Would he find the focus he needed to build a solid foundation for his future?

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Michelle's Story - Mixed Emotions
How finding courage helped her find confidence
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Ready or not

On Michelle’s first day on her journey to finish high school as an adult at the Discovery Centre, she was overwhelmed with feelings about her past and what her future held in store.

“I was excited, scared, happy, sad — you name it, I felt it on my first day,” says Michelle. “I knew I had A LOT of work to do to get my 36 credits to finish high school. It was a big goal but I was so long waiting and putting it off...I just wanted to get started.”

Felt like ‘home’

From the minute Michelle walked through the doors at the Discovery Centre, staff showed Michelle that she could finally start letting go of her long-held fears.

“The staff at the Discovery Centre are truly amazing,” shares Michelle. “I felt at home. I felt welcome. They knew about my previous high school experience and supported me from the minute I walked in. It was unbelievable.”

Michelle’s confidence began to grow

She knew that letting go of years of fear, pain, and self-doubt was the first step toward changing her life for the better.

Michelle knew that she would need a lot of support and understanding as she worked on conquering her past to build her future. Would she find the trust she needed to get to the finish line?

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WATCH EPISODE 1 NOW: "LIFE BEFORE"
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Hayley's Story - Loss and Lost
How mental health realities led to a difficult time.
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High school wasn’t easy for Hayley

She struggled with mental health realities — depression and anxiety left her feeling lost, disconnected, and unable to see a clear future.

“I had no self-confidence or motivation. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, let alone go to school” says Hayley. “My biggest supporter was my Pop, he always got me through the toughest times.”

Hayley’s worst fears

Her Pop passed away, leaving her devastated and without her ‘safety net’.

“It was a downward spiral from there. School just disappeared. My life became a blur,” Hayley quietly remembers. “I didn’t have my Pop to help me through, so everything got worse. I didn’t know if I was gonna make it.”

Hayley needed help

She entered a program at a local mental healthcare facility to start working through her problems.

Hayley had to turn her life around — she knew she couldn’t do it without finishing high school. She realized she’d need financial support, a flexible schedule, and the freedom to learn at her own pace if she was going to succeed.

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Cameron's Story - Blue Collar and Bust
What happened out of class and after the boom.
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High school wasn’t a priority for Cameron

He didn’t feel motivated to go to class when he could start earning money working at labour jobs instead, like some of his friends.

“Honestly, I didn’t see the value in finishing high school,” says Cameron. “I was working for what I thought was good money at the time. I thought everything was great.”

Cameron’s ‘wake-up call’

Things changed when Cameron applied for a job at Muskrat Falls through his ‘in’ at the HR level. “I talked to my buddy in charge of hiring because I knew for sure I had the experience needed to do that job,” he remembers.

He was shocked and disappointed by the response he received. “He said even though I had all the experience needed, nobody would look at me if I didn’t have my high school. Hearing that was really hard.”

Stuck in a rut

Cameron couldn’t get the better-paying jobs he needed to move his life forward because he didn’t have his high school diploma.

He was only a few credits short but it felt like a major obstacle. He needed financial support, a flexible schedule and a support system to help him stay focused and motivated.

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Michelle's Story - Phoning it in
What a private pain can do to a love of learning.
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Learning was a struggle for Michelle

She had a severe learning disability which made school a very difficult experience for her.

Michelle’s learning disabilities and emotional distress prevented her from finishing high school — those struggles continued throughout her adult life. “I had absolutely zero self-confidence. I lived my daily life feeling worthless and helpless.”

Searching for the words

She recalls her darkest moment: “When I took my little boy to register for Kindergarten, I couldn’t fill out the papers.” She admits tearfully: “I had to use the phone book to find words that looked similar to the ones on the form. That’s when I knew it had to stop.”

Michelle felt powerless

A lifetime of pain and fear led her to a moment of realization: She had to get her high school diploma, for herself and her children.

She needed a lot of credits to graduate and she was scared. She knew that she’d need a flexible schedule and a strong support system to help her to learn at her own pace if she was going to rise above the challenges she’d always faced.

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