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Justin Hines inspires students to overcome obstacles


Starting a school year is always a nerve-racking endeavour for students. Beginning a post-secondary school career may present a few more obstacles. For some, this is the first time away from home; for others, the cost of higher education may present a financial burden; and still others may struggle with a physical or learning disability.

"Over 8% of applicants to St. Lawrence College report that they have some form of disability. These disabilities range from physical challenges to learning disorders. We have a variety of services and special programming to help make the transition to college as smooth as possible, and to ensure that students get the assistance they need," reports Wanda Williams, Director of Student Services, St. Lawrence College.

Helping students get to know other students, college staff, and the services offered through our assistance programs are the primary goals of our Orientation Day for students with disabilities and their families, held on Sept. 3. This event also provides inspiration and reassurance for students regarding their decision to pursue a post-secondary education.

A special feature of this year’s orientation is the keynote address by Canadian singer and songwriter, Justin Hines. Hines is not only a very talented musician, but also an individual who understands firsthand the struggles associated with a disability.

Hines recently released his second album entitled Chasing Silver. The album features the hit song "Say What You Will", among others. Hines is blessed with a slightly gravelled tenor voice, reminiscent of a hybrid Jim Croce and Cat Stevens, and an articulately poetic eloquence that shines in his songs. The 11 original songs (excluding two remixes and a potent cover of "Solsbury Hill") on Chasing Silver easily fulfill that mandate. Justin Hines pours his heart and soul into an album that marks a steady evolution from his 2007 Orange Record debut effort Sides.

Wheelchair-bound due to a rare genetic joint condition called Larsen Syndrome, Hines has never restricted or abandoned his goals to pursue the best that life has to offer. After the release of Sides –and the success of his radio hit "Wish You Well" – he began travelling to destinations he never dreamed possible, including China, Dubai, Scotland, the Persian Gulf, and locations all across Canada where he touched and inspired people with his music, his optimism, and his outlook.

"We know that Justin’s music and optimism will benefit our students as they transition into the college environment," says Williams. "As he says, ‘chase silver, and you know you’ll catch gold’."


Thursday, September 3, 2009

11:30 am presentation