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Bursary inspires student to learn about 'amazing person'

In September, Tamara Graham will be attending Georgian College in Barrie for a pharmacy tech program
Tamara Graham on graduation day with her parents Ted Campbell and Amy Knight. Contributed image

A bursary awarded at graduation last month led one student to discover a new hero.

At her graduation from Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI), Tamara Graham received an award given in memory of Catherine Fay Spencley.

Graham was surprised to receive the award, and decided to learn more about the woman for whom it was named.

“I could tell she was an amazing person and did lots for people,” said Graham.

The award is funded by an annual charity golf tournament called Fay Day organized by Fay’s family.

"It's crazy how a community can do that for someone," said Graham. "I'm really honoured to get the award. I felt proud." 

Fay was born and raised in Collingwood and her husband and children still live in town. The Spencleys owned and operated Ace Cabs. She died in 2003 of a sudden heart attack, she was 44 years old.

She is remembered for her kindness and for standing up for underdogs.

“In my research, I found a lot of traits I carried as well,” said Graham. “Traits like thinking of others, being outgoing, loving animals, and putting things behind you to move forward.”

Graham’s family home burned down December 2018. She and her parents lost everything, and ended up living in a motel for several weeks, including over Christmas and during her first semester exams.

“It was hard, but I realized, my whole family got out and we can get new stuff,” said Graham. “I lost all my books, so I asked people for notes. I asked my teachers for help … I did okay on my exams.”

In September, Graham will be attending Georgian College in Barrie for a pharmacy tech program. She’s made the college basketball team after four years on the CCI team.

She’ll be putting the $500 bursary she received in her savings account to help with travel back and forth to school from her family home in Stayner.


Erika Engel

About the Author: Erika Engel

Erika regularly covers all things news in Collingwood as a reporter, photographer and community editor.
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