As a woman who devoted her life to teaching, the Laurence Skora Memorial Bursary in Social Work will honour Laurence’s commitment to supporting students with disabilities. In the 1960s, Laurence left her job as a French-language teacher at Merivale Public School to take on a full-time position at a volunteer-led, privately-funded school in Hull, Quebec to teach students with intellectual disabilities.

Her passion for helping students with special needs stemmed from time spent teaching children in her community, who excelled at Laurence’s approach to finding alternative ways to teaching and learning. This led her to develop the Pavilion du Parc Sheltered Workshop. This workshop involved modulated programming based on the capacities of each child, and enhanced their skills through activities such as gardening and crafts. Laurence later worked to find contracts to ensure that adolescents and adults with disabilities could also be involved and benefit from the workshop’s unique offerings.

Laurence’s compassion and dedication eventually led her to take on the role of Director at the school, which served forty children at the time. Shortly after, a new school was set-up under Laurence’s leadership to expand the number of students with disabilities that could be supported. Up until her retirement, Laurence spent most of her 43 years working tirelessly to advance the rights of children and adults living with disabilities in school and in society.

The Laurence Skora Memorial Bursary in Social Work will continue Laurence’s legacy by supporting a student in demonstrated financial need who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work program. Established in 2021 by her son, Jan Skora (BEng/’72), this award will provide $1000 annually to each recipient, with preference given to students pursuing a minor in Disability Studies.