Ailing Saanich girl receives honorary degree

University of Victoria’s Faculty of Education bestows teaching degree on 12-year-old coping with cancer

The University of Victoria bestows Saanich’s Emma Smith with an honorary teaching degree on Friday. The 12-year-old has been suffering from aggressive cancer in her brain since 2012 which moved to her spine in 2014.

At just 12 years old, Emma Smith will be considered young by her potential employers.

Her resume is somewhat limited to “a day’s experience teaching a Grade 1 and 2 class.” But it’s not how you get the degree that matters. Rather, it’s the fact that you have one.

And after four years of living with brain and spinal cancer, Smith was honoured with a teaching degree by the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Education.

On May 6, she crossed off a bucket list item as a “student-teacher” leading a class at Cloverdale Traditional school.

On Friday, UVic’s education dean Ralf St. Clair listed off the many responsibilities Smith showed during the ceremony.

“You showed the many qualities of a teacher, including taking attendance,” St. Clair said.

“It’s an honour to give this to you and it shows that UVic extends beyond Ring Road and into the community, and accepts people of all ages,” said UVic chancellor Shelagh Rogers.

Teaching is Smith’s career of choice, and the idea of an honorary degree was floated to UVic by Victoria’s Help Fill A Dream about two weeks ago. Last summer, the Help Fill a Dream organization sent Smith’s family to Waikiki, Hawaii, complete with a helicopter trip over the volcanoes.

Smith will now move forward with more items on her bucket list, following the recent news that her cancer has spread once again. She has not shown the necessary health signs for chemotherapy and radiation. On May 1 her parents Darrell and Diane posted on the Emma Grace Smith Facebook page that there is “no long-term future” for Emma. In the mean time the family is continuing to work through Smith’s bucket lists as doctors are unable to estimate how long Emma has left.

The May 29 event An Evening For Emma Grace at Oak Bay’s new Dave Dunnet Community Theatre will feature numerous dance performances and a well-stocked silent auction.

For more information visit


Just Posted

Bike to Work Week officially kicks off

Organizers calling current cycling conditions the perfect storm

Sunny with a high of 22 C for Monday

Plus your weekly forecast

Greater Victoria records a drop in EI recipients

2,140 received regular EI benefits in March 2019, a drop of 3.2 per cent

Playground a fitting tribute to Sarah Beckett

West Shore Rotary sells bricks to raise funds for playground equipment

Panorama Rec serves top junior tennis tournament

160 boys and 94 girls, from 14 countries compete June 1–8 in ITF Championships

WATCH: Thousands enjoy sunshine at second annual Village Block Party

Cook Street filled with local food, music and more

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read