STELLARTON, N.S. – It felt like reassurance.
Like many high school graduates, Kennedi Atwell had been struggling with what to do after graduation. A co-op placement at the NSCC helped her make up her mind. Working there, she discovered how she could enter the two plus two program which allowed her to complete two years at NSCC before moving on to finish another two years at university. And so she enrolled in the social services program.
But paying for it was something that weighed on her mind as she tallied up the costs of tuition, books and gas to get to and from the campus.
“I do work part time, but that only goes so far when attending college full time,” she said.
Then she got good news.
She had been chosen to receive the Doe and Bill Sobey Inspiration Award.
“It was such a relief and it really eased the stress I was under financially,” said Atwell, to a crowd gathered at the NSCC Campus in Stellarton on April 8. “On top of that it felt like reassurance. Like I was safe. I had been having doubts and it helped me build my confidence to pursue my dreams.”
It’s stories like Atwell’s that Rob Sobey believes are at the heart of the message for the NSCC’s Make Way campaign, which he chaired provincially. The campaign just wrapped after four years and is being hailed a success after it surpassed its goal of $25 million with a total that has now surpassed $33 million.
The money will be used to support students with scholarships, bursaries and urgent aid as well as programming, leading edge instructional equipment and centres of expertise.
“For years I’ve been a big believer in the college and the lifechanging impact it has had on the students over the years,” said Sobey, in remarks made at the NSCC campus in Stellarton. “I knew that Make Way would open doors so that even more people would have a chance at a transformative education and the campaign has been quite a ride.”
For four years, they’ve been taking the message to business leaders as well as industry partners and community members and sharing why the NSCC matters and how the funds could make a difference in the lives of students.
“Not only does and did the NSCC story resonate across the province, but I believe the uniqueness and power of this campaign made fundraising that much easier,” said Sobey. “The vast majority of funds raised go directly to student assistance.”
While the campaign has just wrapped up, the funds are already helping students at campuses across the province.
“Not only does this help students address very practical financial issues. Importantly it also gives them the confidence to achieve their dreams and to build a better province.”
In Pictou County, almost $700,000 was raised. That money will go to help students directly at the Pictou campus.
“It’s an incredible outcome and we’re so grateful to everyone who has supported the make way campaign,” said Deanna Mohammed, who was on the local campaign committee and also works on campus and sees how students benefit first hand.
Andy MacGregor, president and CEO of MacGregor Industrial Group, also spoke at the event. His family has a long history with the community college, beginning with his father who taught there and continuing more recently with his son Nick who was a graduate. He has hired many graduates from the local program and said he was happy to help with the campaign.
“At one time a student applying to a trades campus may have been considered incapable of meeting the criteria of universities,” he said. “I’m here to tell you this was not and is not the case. Trades persons are well educated and earning significant incomes.”
Locally, people in the trades are making anywhere from $40,000 to six figure salaries, he said, and they contribute more to the tax base than any other sector.
And now more students will have the security of pursuing that path.