Nfld. & Labrador

Lush's return surprises students

Former students of the failed Career Academy in St. John's are surprised after hearing the school's founder plans to return to the province.

Former students of the failed Career Academy in St. John's are surprised after hearing the school's founder plans to return to the province.

Lorraine Lush says she's coming back this month to work on a book detailing the demise of the private college.

The Career Academy suddenly went bankrupt and collapsed back in 1998, leaving hundreds of students, staff and creditors high and dry. At its most successful, it had 3,000 students at 15 branches in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and southern Ontario, and plans to expand into other provinces.

Former student Dana Healey was able to finish her computer and electronics courses before the school shut its doors, but she still feels short-changed by the Career Academy's founder.

"I think that most of the people here probably think that she cheated every one of us out of our tuitions and everything," she says.

Healey, who now works at Wal-mart, blames poor instruction and the Career Academy's poor reputation after its bankruptcy on her inability to find a job in her field.

She also says she doesn't think it's fair for Lush to profit from writing a book after upsetting her and so many other students.

Lush has been living in the United States ever since the collapse. She hopes people are ready to forgive her.

"I deeply regret having hurt people in Newfoundland. I was hurt too and I should have hurt because I owned it. I deeply regret that I hurt people, I just hope that they treat me kindly," she says.

Lush says returning to the province and writing the book, titled Unfinished Business, are part of her healing process.