“To know Bridget Steele is to know a young woman who is truly phenomenal,” says Superior Collegiate & Vocational Institute Teacher and Coach Marilyn Ailey, who adds Bridget had a profound effect on the Superior community—encouraging others to dream big and go out into the world with kindness, empathy and an open heart.
Bridget is taking her own advice. She’ll be attending Confederation College to study Office Administration; she hopes to work at a centre for kids with special needs.
Bridget and her family first began receiving supports and services from George Jeffrey Children’s Centre in Thunder Bay when she was three-years old. In high school she completed the Pre-Work Placement Program, designed for students who have learning disabilities. Bridget also has Dysgraphia, a set of writing challenges that impacts skills such as writing, typing and spelling so she uses technology and scribes to be successful with her written work.
Bridget says that as a person with Autism, she is comfortable as a leader with individuals and small groups though finds large groups to be more challenging. But she didn’t let that stop her from making enormous contributions to her school.
When Bridget was in Grade 9 a teacher told the students in her program that they did not have to complete the 40 volunteer hours students in the academic stream are required to complete. That annoyed her, and she decided she would not only complete 40 hours, she would do more. She volunteered at camps for younger children with special needs, with the Kettle campaign, and with CAS’ Adopt-a-Family at Christmas. Bridget completed 300 volunteer hours and received citizenship awards for her contributions to her school and her community.
She got involved in extracurricular life at school, too. Bridget served as a School Council member since Grade 9, helping plan and run events including an Autism fundraiser which became a new school tradition. As her confidence and leadership skills grew, she ran successfully for Grade 11 Representative, and also served as student representative at Parent Council. A committed environmentalist, Bridget began a recycling program and is proud the school is now Green.
An athlete, Bridget joined the school’s cross-country running team, the girls’ soccer team, and the cross-country skiing team. At her school’s Athletics Awards program in June, Bridget won a special award, the Phenomenal Gryphon award, which showcases how students can improve and experience success whatever their starting point may be. When not participating as an athlete, Bridget finds other ways to join in—selling popcorn at charity basketball games, and as a water provider for the basketball and football teams.
Always looking for ways to help others, Bridget has had a profound effect on others in the Superior community, brightening everyone’s day with her smile. Bridget’s teachers and her principal describe her as a leader, known for her determination, work ethic, and exceptional kindness.