The 2018 NSCC graduating class radiated an “infectious enthusiasm,” – that was the term NSCC Pictou Campus Principal Dave Freckelton used in addressing graduates and their families on Thursday morning at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
“When I saw you starting, I saw anxious enthusiasm – now I see those same faces with the same enthusiasm but the anxiousness is gone. That is very rewarding for me to see,” said a proud Freckelton.
Among this year’s graduates, several earned distinctions for their academic achievements. The Governor General’s Academic Medal went to Holly E. J. Klein; the Nova Scotia Community College Gold Medal went to Ryan J. Cahoon; the Board of Governors Award was given to Jamie R. I. MacDonald; the President’s Award was given to Colin W. Aikens and the NSCC Alumni Rising Star Award was presented to Tristan P.H. Hawke.
Valedictorian Lee Cowan said, “Today is full of Cs” in her speech to graduates, their family and faculty, referring to the celebration of their accomplishments, the challenges they overcame, the “craziness” of taking on some of those challenges – and most importantly – the courage and commitment it took to do what all the grads did.
“Just trying to figure out where you were and where you were supposed to be was enough at first. For some of us in the Adult Learning program, thanks to scheduling, we literally had to be in two places at the same time,” said Cowan. “For some it was just a small step, for others a short walk, and for the rest of us, it was like bungee jumping.”
Jokingly, Cowan added that “For many of us who are less than young, just being back in school was a huge challenge…. Making the decision to come to NSSC to learn a new skill or to upgrade the ones we may have already had took courage.”
Cowan gave accolades to the instructors and staff, who “always encouraged us… helped us learn and understand. They cared that we did well – that we continue to succeed.”
“Always remember to accept challenges, face them with courage, face them with caring and compassion, face them with confidence,” Cowan exhorted the graduates. “In life, there are only two real choices; you either do or you don’t – so go ahead and take the chance. You never know what will happen unless you try.”
NSCC President Don Bureaux emphasized the value of “taking your work seriously, but not (taking) yourself too seriously,” to students, and congratulated the graduates on their efforts to support a partnership between NSCC and the Rick Hansen Foundation to bring an accessibility assessor training programming to Nova Scotia. This effort brought out a lion’s share of support from students at the Pictou Campus, with the Students Association raising $500,000 in support this year.