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Jesse Deer Scholarship awarded to aspiring journalist

Eastern Door cartoonist and former summer student Darian Jacobs is the latest recipient of the Jesse Deer Memorial Media Scholarship. (Jessica Deer, The Eastern Door.)

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First-year journalism student Darian Jacobs is the latest recipient of the Jesse Deer Memorial Media Scholarship, which commemorates the life the well-known and loved media personality in Kahnawake.

“Jesse meant a lot to not only the media in Kahnawake, but to the whole community, for what he did at his young age, the legacy that he has left,” said scholarship co-chair Steve Bonspiel.

“We’re doing our part to try to keep his name going and to make sure that people remember who he was and what he did for Kahnawake.”

Jacobs was presented the $1,000 scholarship on Wednesday afternoon, the sixth annual award, at The Eastern Door offices with the presence of her family and a few of Deer’s family members.

“You got that attitude there, you have tough skin. I have to say keep it going, keep it up, push, driving for it, and going for what you want. That’s how you’re going to get there,” said Deer’s brother Peter Deer to Jacobs on Wednesday. “You got motivation and you have all the media behind you.”

Deer made a profound impact on the local media landscape and was beginning a promising career when he passed away at the age of 23 years old from complications of the H1N1 virus in 2009. He worked as a columnist in The Eastern Door and DJ on K103 Radio, as well as a television reporter.

“We all feel that media is very important and Jesse wanted to be a part of everything,” said scholarship co-chair Greg Horn.

Horn said the award is also meant to use Deer’s life experience as a way to get people in the media industry in the community.

Past winners of the scholarship are: Tharonhianente Barnes, Brent Horne, Lauren McComber, Brittany Leborgne and the author of this article.

“It was really great letting it be known to me that I had won because it is really a great boost to my confidence and the feeling of support moving forward with school,” said Jacobs, who plans on using the scholarship money to purchase a desktop computer.

Jacobs began her first semester of the journalism undergraduate program at Concordia University after Labour Day.

“The first semester is always exciting, but also very scary. So, just knowing that not only family, but friends and acquaintances in the community are excited for me and supportive is really wonderful and I really appreciate it,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs decided to pursue the degree after her experience working as a summer student at The Eastern Door last year. The job forced Jacobs to step out of her comfort zone.

“At first I was like ‘this is really hard!” said Jacobs, “I had to tackle a lot of things that I wasn’t strong in or was afraid of – just like making phone calls, just having to talk to strangers over the phone,” said Jacobs.

“As weeks went by, she picked up the phone and called easier and easier and wrote stories that she had no clue about, but tackled, and had that spirit of what Jesse was: fearless.” said Bonspiel.

Prior to journalism, Jacobs studied animation at Dawson College. Last year, Jacobs was a part of the Skins 4.0 Collective that was nominated for an ImagineNATIVE award for the video game they created during a three-week intensive workshop run by Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace at Concordia.

One of her creations will be returning to the festival in the second week of October.

In addition to her full time studies, Jacobs also draws a weekly comic strip featured in The Eastern Door called Darnomia.

Her mother Melanie said the scholarship will help build her daughter’s confidence. “She doubts herself too much and up to this point she feels like she hasn’t done anything, regardless of all the articles she did for the paper, and her cartoon that she does every week,” she said.

“To her, she doesn’t acknowledge it as an accomplishment, but her being recognized, maybe it will help even build her confidence more because she was always very shy, so going into media in general is a big step for her.”

jessicad@easterndoor.com

 

Jessica Deer
Jessica Deer is the deep-thinking, quick-witted (and perhaps heavily caffeinated) columnist. She began her career at The Eastern Door back in 2008 as a summer student. In addition to writing about youth leadership, ranting about Indigenous politics, as well as raising awareness of cultural appropriation issues in The Caffeinated Potadoe, Jessica has been a staff reporter since 2015 and does on-call layout and graphic design. She also updates the website, so if something is broken... it is probably her fault.
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