Katelin Belliveau is a student in the joint Ottawa University and Algonquin College journalism program who is finishing her final year. Before coming to Ottawa she lived in a small town called Shediac, New Brunswick. Growing up she went to a French high school called Louis-J.-Robichaud where English wasn’t really mandatory. But Belliveau loved reading and writing and decided she wanted to pursue her dream.
“I think part of me was always interested in journalism even when I was very young but I got a little side tracked along the way,” she said. “In grade 12 I was headed in another direction. I actually applied and was accepted into Pre-Med. But then it just sort of hit me that I didn’t want to do chem or physics for the rest of my life, Belliveau recalled.
She remembers the exact day she decided to join the journalism program. It was just a few months before September and she was at a little diner in Moncton called Hyde’s. “I even remember which booth I was sitting in to this day,” Belliveau said. She was sitting across from her Dad and during their conversation he said “Let’s just write down what you’re good at and what you love. Then Belliveau realized it had always been English and French.
“Not long after I made that decision to join the journalism program I found a project I’d done in elementary school. It was a PowerPoint presentation about what each student wanted to be when they grew up – and I said I wanted to be a journalist. Back then apparently I knew what was going on but along the way I forgot. Thankfully something in that little breakfast diner brought it back to me. I’m glad I’m where I am today.”
In May of 2020 Belliveau received the Melba Lent Woelfle Award, which has been given annually by the Media Club of Ottawa to an Algonquin College journalism student since 2008. It surprised her. “The award came as a sense of normalcy and also of shock,” she recalled. “It was a super proud moment and a moment of me acknowledging in my own mind that I’d made it and had done a really good job. I was incredibly grateful.”
Because of pandemic restrictions Belliveau had returned to Shediac. She was sitting at her kitchen table there when she got her award instead of receiving it during a face to face awards ceremony at the college as was done for previous award winners. She was one of the first people to receive an award over Zoom.
That award came at a very unique time for her and Belliveau says that it was a perfect time because it was right after her first year at Algonquin and she had taken a super leap of faith and applied to be the editor of the Algonquin Times newspaper. It was special to think of the role that she held and the part that she played among so many great people and bring that to life.
This award is something I will hang on to and will always remember not only for the award and its meaning but for the year it was given and where I was at the time,” she said. Belliveau is currently finishing her six-week work placement for the course at Portfolio Solutions Group, a marketing and communications sperm in Moncton, and she says it’s been great so far.
“No matter how or where you’re coming from, the people you meet are going to be brought together in a way you never imagined. So quickly it’s going to be one of the biggest blessings you’ll ever have,” said Belliveau.