“Try Everything” was the theme as graduates of Northern Lakes College were honoured during convocation ceremonies June 2 in High Prairie.
Certificates and diplomas were presented to about 200 of the 917 graduates during the ceremonies at the Gordon Buchanan Recreation Centre.
Students graduated from more than 32 programs, including 25 dual-credit students graduating with a credential.
“You have many choices in the direction your life will take,” president and CEO Ann Everatt says as she congratulated and motivated the students.
“Graduation is the first step, the next is your first job in your new career or embarking on a new learning opportunity.”
She encouraged students to continue to seek out learning opportunities.
“Most of all, be passionate about change, for yourself, your families and your future,” Everatt says.
Several other people spoke to congratulate the graduates.
“We want to teach students to learn in our communities,” board chair Daniel Vandermeulen says.
“We always strive to meet the needs of communities and always strive to come to you.”
Awards were given to a number of students to recognize their outstanding achievement in a variety of areas.
Tanis Flett of Sucker Creek received both the Board of Governors Scholarship, a prize honoring the exemplification of the philosophy of lifelong learning and the Louise McKinney Scholarship for academic achievement.
She was also presented the Governor General’s Collegiate Bronze Medal for highest academic standing in a diploma program.
Jillian Walsh of High Prairie received the Student Convocation Award for high academic achievement.
Lisa Gladue of Atikameg was presented the Mabel Grey Award, selected on the basis of academic achievement and contribution to a positive learning environment at the Atikameg campus.
Simone Auger of Wabasca received the Board of Governor’s Leadership Award.
Chasidy Sinclair of Wabasca was presented the Doreen Bellerose Memorial Award for effort and devotion to overcome obstacles while continuing to do well in studies.
Graduates were further encouraged in the valedictorian addressed by Jzomuel Vida, who graduated from the practical nurse program in Grande Prairie.
“Do not stop dreaming and dream big,” Vida says.
Further, he thanked the college for stretching students.
“They make students believe in themselves so we can reach our potential,” Vida says.
He added words of wisdom to graduates.
“We must always be compassionate,” Vida says.
“Don’t think you are smarter or better than somebody else.
“Never lose the passion to become better.
“Always find time to laugh.
“Don’t be afraid to share a piece of yourself with the world.”
Congratulations from the provincial government were expressed by Lesser Slave Lake and Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee and Peace River MLA Debbie Jabbour.
“Putting into practice all that you have learned here will empower you to fulfill your potential, realize your dreams and guide you through whatever challenges lie ahead,” Larivee says.
“I have every confidence that your education will provide you with a strong foundation to build from and build upon.”
Jabbour encouraged graduates to stay close to home to pursue a career.
“Think about staying in the north, we need your talent and skills,” Jabbour says.
Town of High Prairie Councillor Brian Gilroy and Big Lakes County Don Charrois were among the dignitaries on stage.