June 4, 2018 9:13 am
PRINCE GEORGE – Nearly three hundred College of New Caledonia students walked across the stage to accept their parchment during convocation on June 2, 2018 at CN Centre.
Up from 250 in 2017, a record number of graduates from a diversity of programs attended the ceremony to receive certificates, diplomas or associate’s degrees.
Two students shared their experiences with the graduating class. International student Kamal Bindra, who received her diploma in Accounting and Finance, spoke about her experience at CNC and how studying in Canada was an honour to her father’s memory.
“He wanted to come to Prince George to stay with his brother but destiny wasn’t in his favour when my family lost him 12 years ago,” Bindra said. “The decision to study at CNC not only helped achieve my dad’s dream but also showed me a direction towards achieving my own.”
For Heather Holland, a member of the Gitumden Clan and Wet’suweten/Carrier of Witset Nation, her journey through CNC’s Social Work program with First Nation specialization has been one of both education and healing.
“This program has enhanced my ability to use my personal struggles and life experiences within my work for future mentorship and much needed change within our nation and future generations,” she said. “Our youth are an important key to leadership. I am a proud and strong Wet’suwet’en Carrier women and mother, with resilience and strength to continue bringing focus to First Nations issues through empowerment and humbleness.”
Other highlights from Saturday’s ceremony included the presentation of the Governor General’s Academic Collegiate Bronze Medal. The Governor General’s Medal, established in 1873, is one of the most prestigious awards that can be received by a student in a Canadian educational institution for exceptional academic achievement.
The Mary John Award of Excellence, which was presented to Holland during the ceremony, recognized an Aboriginal CNC student who strives to emulate the legacy of Mary John Senior through service to community. Mary John was born in Lheidli in 1913 and grounded her work in traditional practices and principals and was a visionary who hoped for a better future.
“Graduation is a time to celebrate student success with family, friends and fellow classmates,” said CNC President Henry Reiser. “These students have worked hard to finish their courses, and we are proud to see them cross the stage and graduate.”
Thirty-four students in Quesnel were celebrated with a convocation ceremony on May 29, 2018, as well as the presentation of the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal. The medal is awarded to a CNC student in a vocational or career program that is less than two years long who has excelled in their studies and contribute to the life of their post-secondary institution of their community.
This year’s graduates join the one hundred thousand strong alumni from the six communities the College of New Caledonia serves.