Student Success Story – Deborah Cheesman

Table of contents


    ith ABM’s next graduation ceremony quickly approaching, we wanted to take the time to highlight one of the many amazing students that we’ve had the honor of teaching. We take immense pride in every student that we can help to achieve their career goals.

    Since March 21, 2023, is World Social Work Day, it seems appropriate to feature one of our many promising graduates in this noble and rewarding field.

    Deborah Cheesman was briefly featured in our blog for International Women’s Day, but her story was far too interesting not to explore in further detail. She graduated with distinction as the valedictorian for ABM’s Class of 2022 with a Diploma in Addictions and Community Service. Her dedication and drive helped her excel in the program and serve as an inspiration to her classmates. She was gracious enough to spare some time from her busy schedule to share her journey with us.

    Deborah Cheesman

    Deborah Cheesman valedictorian for ABM’s Class of 2022
    Image by Deborah Cheesman

    Everyone who enrolls in our programs has their unique motivations, goals, and challenges. Despite their differences, one of the most common hurdles faced by all students is the ability to juggle school, work, family, and other commitments. Deborah took these challenges in stride, quoting a simple truth that resonated with her from Simon Sinek:

    “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.” 

    Passion and Determination

    Deborah climbing trees like she used to do growing up in Grenada
    Image by Deborah Cheesman

    Were you born in Canada or did you grow up elsewhere before deciding to move here?

    • “I was born on the small Caribbean Island of Grenada.”

    Can you tell us a little about your situation before enrolling at ABM College? 

    • “I have a background in early childhood education. My mom has molded me to be a helper since childhood.”

    Were there any major motivating factors that led you to pursue your chosen program?

    • “After the death of my oldest brother who had an alcohol addiction, I decided to continue my work and make a difference in my community by gaining the knowledge to reach my full potential. So I enrolled in the Addictions and Community Service Worker Program at ABM College.”

    The Educational Experience

    Cheesman large family dinner with Deborah's support team
    Image by Deborah Cheesman

    Many people out there are stuck in an unfulfilling job. The prospect of going back to school can be a daunting one. Was it hard for you to get back into your studies? 

    • “Yes, it was hard, but I stayed focused, and it was worth the sacrifice.”

    What was the biggest challenge you encountered during the program? 

    • “Work/life balance was one of my biggest challenges during my journey. I learned through trial and error how to balance family, work, and school. I scheduled my day and had time devoted to each one. I used my support system as much as I could. They helped me with chores like grocery shopping, preparing meals, and doing laundry. They are a big part of my success.

    Finding balance is vital to success in many things. How would you describe your overall experience with the course? 

    • “My experience at ABM has been amazing! The course topics were well-chosen, and I learned a lot from them. The fact that I was able to participate in class online was great for me and many of my classmates. There were options regarding scheduling, and I was able to pick a time that suited me well. I was matched with a practicum site with goals and values that aligned with mine, and that made my practicum a meaningful and memorable experience.”

    That’s fantastic, it’s great that you had such a positive experience. Were there any particular highlights that stood out for you?

    • “My instructor Kathy was instrumental in my high achievement. She was full of lived experience and knowledge. She taught with passion and commitment and was relentless in her pursuit of making sure her students succeeded. I am extremely grateful that our paths crossed. Kathy made classes fun and engaging. That made me excited to attend.”

    An Exciting New Journey

    Cheesman family wedding with Deborah
    Image by Deborah Cheesman

    As a graduate of the Addictions and Community Service program, how has it affected your life? 

    • “My life has changed in many positive ways. I now work at the place where I completed my practicum. At Emma House, I am providing care and support to expectant homeless women and at-risk women with babies who are experiencing or  are vulnerable to homelessness and addiction. I focus a lot on self-care and that has made me much happier.”

    That is such a meaningful way to help support the community and to give hope to those who need it most. Given the opportunity, what would you say to others who are considering a similar career path? 

    • “I would say, ‘GO FOR IT, TAKE THE PLUNGE!’ It is worth all the hard work and sacrifices.”

    We really appreciate your insights Deborah, and are honoured to have been part of your journey. Is there anything else you’d like to mention? 

    • “I would like to say thanks to ABM college and to my instructor Kathy. Shout out to all my fellow Addictions and Community Service Workers out there. I hope you are happy and fulfilled as I am.”

    Final Thoughts

    Deborah Cheesman with her grandchildren
    Image by Deborah Cheesman

    Knowing that our graduates are not only fulfilling their own career aspirations but making a positive impact on the world around them is incredibly gratifying. Deborah is a fantastic example of how passion and determination are some of the key factors to achieving success. We applaud her current achievements, and have complete confidence that she will continue to do great and meaningful work in the future.

    Deborah’s story is just one of many. Over the next few months we will be featuring interviews with other graduates, instructors, and staff. 

    Looking to write a whole new chapter in your own life? ABM College would be happy to help turn those dreams into reality. Health, business, and technology – wherever your passion lies, we have the diploma program that will help you get there. Are you a current student or former graduate with a story to share? We'd love to hear from you too!

    ‍Contact us now to learn more about ABM College.

    You can also read more industry-relevant blogs here.

    A student writing on their notebook.

    Free College
    Information Kit

    Get started on the road to becoming an ABM College graduate today with our free information kit. In it, you will learn about all of the exciting programs we offer, our philosophy, information about our campuses, and lots more.

    Note: For students requiring a study permit, please see our International Students form here.

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.