Alumni Interview: Carol Deimling

Alumni Interview

Carol Deimling, BA '72
Interviewed by  Shelby Powell

Area of Study: English

I had the pleasure of corresponding with Carol Deimling, a Western English graduate from the class of 1972. She enjoyed campus life in London, Ontario for an undergraduate degree, a Bachelors in Education ('72), and a Masters ('73) before continuing to various cities throughout the province. Carol's focus had mostly been on education in the field of English and Dramatic Arts, but she shifted her career to counselling after obtaining a second Masters in Applied Psychology from the University of Toronto. The options for English graduates are not limited and no one has to complete a degree thinking their years of study have gone to waste. Carol shares her journey to show how a Bachelors in English is just the beginning.

Carol Deimling grew up in Port Hope, Ontario, east of Toronto. "Great place to grow up. I was in a family of five and we all went to Western." She attended the University of Western Ontario from 1968 to 1974, graduating with a Masters in English Language and Literature.

"In my 4th year, we had to do a comprehensive exam on all four years’ work! I spent many hundreds of hours studying in the UC Library reading and writing essays. I think I took about 24 English honors courses during my degree. I had the heavy weights: Dr. B. Rajan for Yeats, Milton and Eliot. I had his wife, Dr. Rajan for Shakespeare and Dr. Gerry Parker for Drama. I keep in touch with him. I was also privileged to have excellent professors, such as Dr. James Reaney, Mr. Richard Stingle, Dr. Barker, and Dr. Tom Collins for Criticism."

"I finished my Honours English Language and Literature degree from UWO in 1972. Another wonderful professor I had was Dr. Ross Woodman. He was a Romantics expert. Wonderful teacher."
During her time at Western, Carol lived on-campus and mentions the leadership skills she gained through campus involvement.

"My first year I was at Delaware Hall and I joined the Purple Spur. My second, third and fourth year, I stayed at Saugeen-Maitland. In third year, I was a house senior and in fourth year, a Don. Lots of good leadership experience. I also helped out with theatre productions doing props or stage management."

After years of schooling, Carol began teaching English and Theatre Arts at a secondary school in Exeter, Ontario. "In Exeter, at South Huron District High School, another teacher and I put on Colours in the Dark, a play by Dr. James Reaney. He came to see the play and we were very humbled." Carol has a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in English, as well as a Bachelors of Education. Later, she obtained another Masters in Applied Psychology.

"I knew I wanted to do a Master's degree so the English Department gave me a $1,000.00 bursary for assistance. My siblings, Rob and Peg, were at UWO at the time so I had an OSAP loan too."

"I did my MA in English at UWO and then took my teaching degree at Althouse College. I had an excellent professor at Althouse College. His name is Don Gutteridge." Carol married Peter, also a Western student, in 1974. After teaching for a year in Exeter, her husband Peter finished his medical degree and they moved to Toronto.

"I got a position at L'Amoreaux Collegiate in Scarborough, again teaching English and Theatre Arts. My colleagues and I worked with students and staff and put on two plays that year. That year all the secondary teachers in the Toronto area went out on strike so 8,800 of us were [out of work] for 6 weeks. It was winter time and we walked a picket line in the cold. During the strike, the office staff served us hot soup during wintry days. During that year, Peter and I had to be very frugal as he was interning and I was on strike and we had to pay rent, heat, and food." After some time in Toronto, Carol and Peter moved to Orilla. Peter became a family doctor while Carol spent one year as a supply teacher. After supply teaching, Carol was given a position at Twin Lakes Secondary School in Orilla, again for English and Theatre Arts. During this time Carol was also a member of CODE, the Council of Drama in Education.

"Twin Lakes Secondary School is a terrific school, and had a good staff and the Guidance programme at the time was highlighted in The Good School Study researched and written by Queen's University's Dr. Alan King. I did my MEd part-time while I continued to work at Twin Lakes Secondary School."

After years of dedicating herself to the classroom, Carol spent her final six years in education as a consultant in Guidance and Cooperative Education at the Simcoe County District School Board. Always getting involved outside of the classroom, Carol was a member of the Ontario School Counsellors Association, the Ontario Guidance Leadership Association (which she co-chaired for two years) and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

"I learned so much during my education at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto. There were many leadership experiences along the way. The friendships I made at UWO and U of T have lasted my whole life and I am so grateful for those."

Now retired, Carol volunteers at the Orilla Museum of Art and History and with the Grandmothers to Grandmothers campaign through the Stephen Lewis Foundation. She takes painting lessons and participates in art exhibitions as a member of the Simcoe Watershed Art Project, an environmental art group. She enjoys music, painting, photography, skiing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking, and travelling with Peter. 

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