ACC Parkland Campus celebrates 2024 graduates

Published on Tuesday, 11 June 2024 14:01
Graduates congratulate their classmates following the convocation at Credit Union Place, last week. Graduates congratulate their classmates following the convocation at Credit Union Place, last week. Doug Zywina

Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Parkland Campus held its graduation ceremony, Friday at Credit Union Place, to celebrate the 66 graduates comprising the Class of 2024.
Following opening remarks from Parkland Campus director Carol Stewart and greetings from ACC president Mark Frison, graduate Joana Ribagorda gave the Valedictorian speech.
After thanking the Valedictorian Selection Committee for giving her the opportunity, Ribagorda had her fellow graduates give themselves a pat on the back for making it this far and encouraged them to congratulate those sitting beside them, as well.
Ribagorda then had the graduates face their family and friends in attendance to thank them and encouraged the graduates to give themselves a round of applause.
Ribagorda began her speech noting that everyone has a favourite children’s book, one of hers being Oh! The Places You'll Go, by Dr. Seuss.
“Allow me to convey to you how the small tales we hear contribute to the beauty we witness and encounter both on and off campus. They enable us the opportunity to learn from someone else, which gives us the power to alter, reinforce, or question our preconceived notions and ideals,” she said.
In the hopes that her fellow graduates may remember the little stories they came across during their own journey, Ribagorda then shared a couple of stories that shaped her ACC experience.
“In 2022, when COVID was still around the corner, my brother asked me if I was willing to pursue the social service worker program here in Dauphin. I have seen some friends and loved ones pass away. Scared that I may not see him again if COVID continues, I agreed. He is also a graduating today, by the way,” she said, adding she then moved from the Philippines to Dauphin to be closer to her brother and his family.
Ribagorda noted their aunt, one of their primary role models, was a former social worker in the Philippines and she decided to follow in her aunt’s footsteps by becoming a social worker and make a difference in other people’s lives.
“But at the back of my mind, being an international student, a newbie in Canada, I wondered if I would survive the fear and challenges of culture shock, extreme weather conditions, academic pressure, financial burden and social isolation,” she said.
“But the good news is that to date, this Filipina has lived in Dauphin for 639 days.”
Most of the time, Ribagorda continued, we connect faith with a rigid religious conviction, but we also frequently forget that having faith also means having total confidence and trust in both oneself and other people.
“Even though we frequently fail to see our own potential, we eventually have the confidence to accept our abilities, because someone else has placed their trust in us. It might be our parents who worked extremely hard to get us into one of the top Canadian colleges, which we now call our alma mater, or it might be our spouses, partners, friends, classmates or other students who supported us at every turn,” she said.
“It could be our instructors, mentors or administrators who took the time to know our stories and shared their own. To everyone who poured their faith on us, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you.”
The second tale, Ribagorda said, centered on a devoted wife, a mother of three, a fantastic chef, and an exceptional student.
“Her name is Blessing. When someone needed a place to stay, she never hesitated to offer her place. I knew because my fellow worker was the one who found shelter. I was able to comprehend the true meaning of ACC leadership through this story: selfless servants who willingly help,” she said.
“Serving others comes more from a sense of obligation than from self-interest. Since strangers are also individuals in need of our help, we go above and beyond to help them. Fellow graduates, as we leave this college, let us keep this principle close to our hearts.
“I still remember this statement from a chat I once had with Elder Bev at the student lounge. She said that like a soft wind, kindness has the capacity to cheer us up, heal our hearts and shine light into the dark corners of our existence. Therefore, let us build compassionate structures, put understanding bridges in place, and plant seeds of love. We transform ordinary situations into remarkable memories by these small gestures, making us become alchemists.”
These brief tales, which Ribagorda said originally made up a small portion of her college experience, nevertheless perfectly captured the essence of her academic journey - one of faith, service and kindness.
“I want you to reflect on and value the various stories you have heard and the influence they have had, and will continue to have, on your life today. It could be a straight forward account of a lunch date or an after-class get-together, or it could be about the A+ you and your project partners achieved after many sleepless nights. These stories, for whatever reason, have shaped who we are now,” she said.
“Look around you. There are faces we recognize and faces we don’t, but one tale unites us all and forges an unbreakable bond between us as people today. This is the story of how we reached a goal for which we have worked incredibly hard. After reaching this goal, our stories of achievement, failure, uncertainty, and hope will never be the same.
“My fellow graduates, let us carry with us and share the stories of our college experiences wherever we go. Let us keep crafting, daring and brave stories that showcase the finest versions of ourselves - not for our own fame and benefit, but rather to uplift and influence people around us. Stories that portray life in the only manner we know how to best educate minds, touch hearts and change lives can help us all contribute to creating a better society.”
Ribagorda closed with an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’ Oh! The Places You'll Go. 
Today is your day. 
You're off to Great Places! 
You’re off and away! 
You’ll be on your way up! 
You’ll be seeing great sights! 
You’ll join the high fliers 
Who soar to high heights. 
Kid, you’ll move mountains! 
So . . . get on your way!
Here is the Class of 2024.
Adult Learning and Upgrading Programs
Mature Student High School - Delaney Brunelle, Tammy Chief, Davin Heroux, Alex Lavallee, Darcy Malcolm, Deyja-Bree Manoakeesick, *Dana Mingo, *Ceejay Oakley, *Courtney Seitter, Jacob Vermeylen and Richard Yarema.
STRIVE Succeeding in the Work World - Document of Achievement - Jouel Brazeau, Shanye Delorme, Skye Delorme, Brody Ferland-Ironstand, Darrell Gaouette, Damian Gaouette, Napolean Johnston, Murray Pashe, Caity Richard, Martha Richard, Megan Stilborn, Lacey Stilborn, Patrick Sutton and Brittany Swan.
Peters School of Business
Business Administration: Accounting Diploma - Samantha Horvat, *Stevie Kay, Sebastian Keewatin and *Paul Rehaluk.
Business Administration: Human Resource Management Diploma - Judy Levasseur, Jacelynn McDonald and Dustin McKay.
Russ Edwards School of Agriculture and Environment
Horticultural Production Certificate - *Natalie Gabriel, *Jacqueline Hanke, Audrey Klyne, Madison Mazier, Willow Menard and *Lukas Serafin.
School of Health and Human Services
Early Childhood Education Diploma - *Charlene Campbell, *Sabrina Conrad, Alyssa Corbel, *Champagnee Delaronde, Skye Haluka, *Kristyn McNarland and *Adele Oshawee.
Social Service Worker Diploma - *Kesha Chartrand, *Blessing Chukwunonso, *Jennifer Coombs, *Taylor Gaudry, *Tatayana Genaille, *Stephanie Kropelnicki, *Joana Ribagorda and *MacKenzie Szymesko.
School of Nursing
Comprehensive Health Care Aide Certificate - *Kyra Campbell, *Ethan Dumas, *Sophie Kaminski, *Katie Kothlow, *Savannah Kovach, *Zoe Lewandoski, *Kaylee Robinson and *Whitney Wray.
Comprehensive Health Care Aide Challenge Certificate - Jojit Lusung.
School of Trades
Heavy Equipment Operation Certificate of Achievement - Jakob Dewarle, Joshua McKay, Carter Sahulka and Sage Thompson-Roulette.
* Graduating with distinction/honours.
Kristyn McNarland received the Governor General’s Academic Medal, which is awarded for overall academic excellence to the student who achieves the highest overall average upon graduation from a diploma-level, post-secondary program.
Blessing Chukwunonso received the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal Award. Students awarded this medal are nominated by any combination of three staff and students and are selected based on academic and technical ability, participation in college or community activities, as well as having good character and personality.
Sebastian Keewatin, Judy Levasseur, McNarland, Audrey Klyne, Deyja-Bree Manoakeesick and Taylor Gaudry were all awarded the One to Watch Graduation Award.

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