Assiniboine Community College Parkland Campus celebrated its Class of 2022, Friday with a graduation ceremony in Dauphin.
This year’s Class of 2022 consists of 43 graduates.
Business administration: Human Resource Management diploma - Carley Coulter, Claire Gingera, Campbell Orvis, Ashley Poynting and Jessica Zurba.
Comprehensive Health Care Aide certificate - Tyra-Jane Delaurier, Wynona Guiboche, Noeline Muoneme and Madison Stratuliak.
Early Childhood Education diploma - Julia Bluhm, Carlee Farrow, Chloe Genaille, Faith McLaughlin, Britteny Sinclair, Amber Tkachyk and Aminay Yusuf.
Mature Student High School diploma - Carly Blady, Don Geriko Estanislao, Maxwell Genaille, Michelle Gouldsborough, Niki Guiboche, Sebastian Keewatin, Dustin McKay, Skyla McKay, Anna-Maria Ogg, Amanda Pangman, Kylie Paterson, Karen Renshaw and Mathew Walls-Orosz.
Office Skills certificate - Singh Harpreet and Nicole Sutherland.
Youth Employment Skills Certificate of Achievement - Denee Baptiste, Robert Baron, Angel Bull, Johnny Campbell, Shaydon Davis, Brody Denbow, Wynona Guiboche, Kennedy Ironstand, Edina Malcolm, Hope Roulette and Taylor Vier.
Karen Renshaw, a graduate of the Mature Student High School program was valedictorian.
As a mature student, Renshaw and her peers viewed life experience as an incredible asset to supplement the learning that took place in their time at ACC.
In her speech, she thanked everyone who attended the ceremony, noting it is the first time since 2019 that graduates have been able to celebrate with family friends and faculty members.
“This has been a wonderfully amazing year for adult learners, the challenges that came with a decision to improve the quality of our lives. Congratulations to you,” she added.
Renshaw also thanked the teachers, staff and Elders for the high standard of education they provided to students. Noting ACC is part of Treaty 2, she said it is because of the land they were all able to meet together over the last few years to improve themselves as a community.
Renshaw poked fun at herself during her speech.
“Returning to school at the ripe old age of 54 has been a journey. Next year, I can order from the seniors menu at Smitty’s,” she joked. “You know you are older than your teachers when they would ask, ‘hey, Karen, do you remember when?’ I would answer with, ‘man, you are lucky I remembered pants’.”
Renshaw admitted she was shocked to learn she was valedictorian, as well as honoured and amazed.
“After a couple of days, it came to me no one else applied,” she joked.
It took Renshaw a few tries to come up with a speech. Her first attempt, she said, was a reference to mountain climbing.
“Heck, I can’t even climb three flights of stairs. Thank God ACC is all one level,” she joked.
Her second attempt was about how we survived COVID, Zoom classes, masks, a winter storm in April, late night studies and cramming for last minute essays. She finally decided to write her speech the way they had lived the past eight months, by the seat of their prayers.
“Thank you, Lord/Creator, our higher power for guiding us to make a change. Thank you for putting these amazing people on our path for a better future. Thank you mostly for helping us make the grade. Amen,” she said.
On behalf of her fellow graduates, Renshaw thanked family members for their support, encouragement and for joining the graduates on their special day. She also thanked her classmates to teaching her so much.
“Your kindness will always be close to my heart. You folks are top notch. You will shine bright in your careers and lives,” she said. “The knowledge we have acquired will remain with us for the rest of our lives and we are grateful for that.”
Following the ceremony, graduates, family and friends enjoyed a barbecue meal.