Pre-apprenticeship carpentry graduates walked across the stage for the first time at Keyano College in Fort Chipewyan on May 3.
Ian Bourke and Eddie McDonald, carpentry students who are currently writing their provincials, joined 11 others at Keyano Fort Chip’s second convocation.
Shelby Gibot, Josh Cardinal, Cody Decoine, Katelyn Courtoreille and Alanna Voyageur received their certificates for the academic foundations entry program and Sharon Bruno and Vanessa Whitehead received theirs for the advanced program in academic foundations.
Roberta Courtoreille, Rodney Marten, Stephanie Courtoreille and Sara Voyageur also graduated from the college preparation program, bringing the total number of graduates to 13.
There were only five graduates last year for the first graduation of Keyano’s newest campus, which opened its doors in 2011.
Convocation is a special time for the entire Fort Chipewyan community, campus chair Margo Vermillion said.
Community members who have contributed to the college in any small way are recognized along with the graduates at the convocation ceremonies at Mamawi Hall.
“I can’t thank and acknowledge enough the First Nation leadership in our community. They have been 100 per cent behind these students and anyone in education,” Vermillion said.
Stephanie Courtoreille, a college prep student, spoke on behalf of the students as valedictorian. She thanked the Fort Chipewyan staff and her fellow students, as well as Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief Steve Courtoreille, for their support.
“Thank you Chief Courtoreille for supporting our efforts to prepare for graduation. We are grateful,” she said.
The chief donated a signed Edmonton Oilers jersey to be raffled off in support of the graduates.
Catherine Koch, academic vice president at Keyano College, congratulated the graduates personally and encouraged them to reach for the stars.
“You have been told by many this is the beginning of a new chapter in your life, but it is also an opportunity to write a new book on your life. Now is the time to go out in the world and be what you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t let hurdles stop you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, because you can, and today is a proof of that,” she said.
The 2012-2013 school year also marked the first time the campus offered online courses, an overall success, Vermillion noted.
“The students have worked extra hard and the teaching staff is excellent – instructors teaching from the heart – and I’m so proud,” she said.