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OISE's Great Grads: Student leader Billy Noiles inspired to give back to community


By Fred Michah Rynor
William NoilesOISE is known for creating leaders and William Noiles, one of this year’s Cressy Student Leadership Award recipients is just one more example of this.
“I felt really, really honoured to get the Cressy but going to the ceremony and actually hearing Gordon Cressy speak was an especially inspiring moment for me,” he recalls.
Noiles, graduating with a B.Ed in Senior/Intermediate Biology and General Science is the outgoing president of the Student Teachers’ Union. In an OISE media release, he’s described as a student who was “active in mobilizing his fellow teacher candidates to work to repeal government legislation that would limit employment opportunities for teacher candidates in schools.”
Noiles has a passion for both science and teaching youth and considers education “the one profession that drives all the others,” and being in the classroom is, in part, due to one very special and inspiring teacher.
“We’ve all had great teachers who have molded our careers and for me it was Suzanne Keple-Burbridge at our high school in Minto, New Brunswick. She was an excellent, interesting and inspiring instructor and it’s in large part to her that I’m in the classroom now.”
He originally studied science at McGill but came to OISE in 2012 because of the structure of the one-year program. “I liked the idea of teachable classes, the cohort program and the focus on science. OISE allows you to explore various venues and value systems.”
Now 26 and with two science degrees under his belt, ‘Billy’ as he’s known to friends and colleagues, has “always loved science which is kind of odd because a lot of my family members are accountants. I like every aspect of science and everything I could ever want in a career is in science teaching.”
When asked about his prodigious list of student activities, he insists this involvement with various committees (including previous stints with the Canadian Cancer Society in Montreal and the Student Society Programming Network) has been critically beneficial to him as a person.
“I’ve always been a fan of student involvement and it’s just part of my daily routine. My mother instilled in all of her children the importance of giving back to the community and there are so many ways to get involved at OISE and this has enriched my life beyond belief. To be a part of a school club or organization is a privilege.”
He sees his future as "being a lifelong classroom experience and I think it will be just as exciting in years to come as it is to me now. I want to inspire students just as I have been inspired by my teachers.”

The Cressy Awards, named after Gordon Cressy, former vice-president of development and university relations, were created by the University of Toronto Alumni Association and the Division of University Advancement in 1994. They recognize “graduating students for their outstanding contributions to improving the world around them and inspiring others to do the same.”  

The awards committee chooses students who, through their extra-curricular activities and participation in student and campus life, have made real change to their faculty, school, college or the University of Toronto as a whole.