Opportunity Shines Through at CNC Convocation
Prince George, B.C. – Over two hundred and fifty College of New Caledonia students were on hand to accept their parchment at Convocation Saturday at CN Centre.
A total of 264 students comprise the graduating class of 2017. They, along with proud family members and friends, heard addresses from students Puneeta Gulati and Carrie Davis. Gulati related that “two years ago I made a big decision. I moved from New Delhi, India, from a city that holds half the size of Canada’s total population, to study in a place that most people in my country have never heard of. I was in Prince George.”
She quit her job in India “to come to Canada for a higher education and better future. She says she learned to juggle between assignments, part-time jobs and volunteering and steered her way through it “with the support of many amazing people around me.” Puneeta says the experience not only helped her hone her academic skills but helped her grow emotionally and personally into a stronger person.
Carrie Davis, a student of Gitxsan descent, wore handmade red and black traditional regalia to receive her diploma from the Social Service Worker program with a specific aboriginal emphasis.
Davis, who is a member of the Laxgibuu (Wolf) clan and comes from the community of Kispiox, is a mother of two who, along with her husband and children, now lives in Prince George. She says she entered the Social Service Worker with Aboriginal Services Specialization program at CNC to learn about herself and, as a result, began a healing journey of getting to know who she is and where she came from.
“I walked into the college knowing I was a mother and knowing that I was the oldest of six siblings and knowing where I came from but not knowing my roots. Having been given the opportunity by not just aboriginal studies instructors but all of my instructors to research issues about who I am and where I come from is a huge learning opportunity for me. So, my culture is probably the biggest thing that I’m taking away from this whole experience.”
While surrounded by the varied First Nations cultures of her husband, grandmother and grandfather, Davis says she is just now reconciling with the Gitxsan culture of her mother. “I made this blanket and I learned about the significance of it, the work that it entails, and now I have something to teach my children. I never had that before, so that’s a huge moment of reconciliation for myself.”
Her long-term goal is to help others find a clear path and positive future through education. Carrie is now moving on to pursue her bachelor’s degree at UNBC, starting this fall and “would love to get a master’s in Education after my bachelor’s degree.”
As a result of her work for and with people at the college Carrie was named this year’s recipient of the Mary John Award of Excellence, which is presented annually to a CNC student who strives to live with dignity while serving others and their community. She was presented the award (photo below) by CNC board chair Lee Doney.
Also awarded were the Governor General’s Academic Collegiate Bronze Medal which goes to the student with the highest overall average while graduating from a diploma-level program. The recipient this year is Cynthia MacPhail, a Medical Laboratory Technology Science Diploma student. .
The Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal, going to a student in a vocational or career program who has excelled in their studies and contributed to the life of their post-secondary institution, was awarded to Jillian Masson, who graduated with honours from the Early Childhood Care and Learning certificate program. She is now working in her field in Penticton.
CNC President Henry Reiser noted that “graduation is a time to celebrate student success with family, friends and fellow classmates. These students have worked hard to finish their courses and we are proud to see them cross the stage and graduate.”