Indigenous Excellence

Tammy Ortynski

April 2013

Tammy Ortynski photo

  • Home Community:
  • Manitoba Cultural Identity: Metis
  • Position:
    Special Education
    Resource Teacher
  • Education/Training: University of Winnipeg Bachelor Arts
    University of Winnipeg Bachelor of Education University of Manitoba Post Bach – Special Education
  • Roles/Responsibilty: Program for special education students as well as support classroom teachers and their students
“...stay focused on whatever your dreams are and that will make the road to getting there a bit easier!”

What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
One of my biggest obstacles was suddenly losing my mother only weeks before my final year of university. She spent my whole life teaching me that education was my ticket to independence. Growing up in a small home with 3 other siblings meant that there really wasn’t money for university but that didn’t stop my mom from knocking on any door to help me fund this endeavor. To have to finish my last year without her getting to see me walk the stage to receive my degree was devastating.

What or who inspired you to really go after the profession you are in now?
My mom, for sure and knowing that in order to get what I wanted from life I would have to get an education. Growing up with 3 siblings in the house meant a fight for “good food.” I always tell people the story of the time I was about 11 or so and I went to a sleepover at a friends from school. She lived in a really nice home where everyone had their own bedrooms beautifully decorated and a great family room in the basement. But the thing that made me the most envious was the fact that the following morning when it came time for breakfast her mother told us to help ourselves to whatever cereal we wanted and when she opened the pantry there were about 10 different choices! Even all the sugary ones that wouldn’t last 2 days in my house.  After that, I always thought that I would know when I had reached success when I would be able to fill a pantry with a large variety of cereals! Lol.

What critical choices or decisions did you make that helped you get where you are today?
When I went back to school in my final year many of my peers where shocked to learn my news and to see me at school but I told everyone that there was no way after all the work my mom had done to put me though university would I give up now. It’s what she would have wanted.

Message of Encouragement:
Things aren’t always going to be easy but stay focused on whatever your dreams are and that will make the road to getting there a bit easier!