ALPHA 1973 to 1984, ages 4–14. Studied at Trent University. Works as an Automotive Technician.
I went to alternative high schools, then Trent University, where I completed a three-year bachelor’s degree. I worked in a warehouse for bunch of years and then went back to school to study auto mechanics. I completed four years of apprenticeship and achieved my official certification as an Automotive Technician. I have also helped to get more women included in the automotive trade. We have three women working at my garage, more than any automotive garage that I know of anywhere.
The democratic nature of ALPHA influenced me one hundred percent. It makes a huge difference to people to feel included and have a sense of ownership.
Having a community is the most important thing in life. As the world gets harder and harder and faster and faster, having a community of people to rely on will be what saves us. Not having stuff or a lot of money. I also really care about what happens to our natural environment. I care about social justice and the treatment of young people.
I know that because of going to ALPHA, some of my hard skills, like math, spelling, and essay writing are not as strong as other students who went to regular school. But I would never trade the human skills I learned at ALPHA and have carried with me ever since. These are the skills that it is harder to learn later, whereas the hard skills are way easier to acquire any time. — Jennifer Ferrari
Colour photo by Michael Barker • Black and white photo by F. Robert Openshaw • Text and Interview by Ariel Fielding