Yellowknife college grads fill the house

Click on the slideshow above to view captions.Photos by Jayne Murray and Josh Long.

Future nurses, educators and entrepreneurs crossed the stage before a packed house at Aurora College’s North Campus graduation ceremony Saturday in Yellowknife.

Future nurses, educators and entrepreneurs crossed the stage before a packed house at Aurora College’s North Campus graduation ceremony Saturday in Yellowknife.

“We definitely need a bigger place next time,” Education Minister Jackson Lafferty said to the crowd of graduates, friends and family packing the Katimavik room at the Explorer Hotel.

In all, 84 grads from the Yellowknife campus marked the milestone, leading college president Jane Arychuk to call it the largest graduating class in recent memory.

“There was a large number of graduating nurses because we’ve gone through a bump,” Arychuk said. “Next year, I think we’ll see that we’re back down to our normal graduating class size.”

Lafferty, whose riding includes Behchoko, said it’s safe to assume some of the 19 personal support worker grads from the community will find work at the Tlicho community’s next long-term care facility, set to replace the Chief Jimmy Erasmus Centre.

“I think this is a tremendous and remarkable accomplishment for those individuals so they can contribute back to the community,” Lafferty said in an interview with The Journal.

“We don’t have many elders in the communities,” said Denise Zoe, one of the personal support worker grads. “I thought it would be nice to take care of our elders.”

Zoe said she’s looking to find a job in Behchoko or Yellowknife.

In her address, the valedictorian made note of Zoe and her classmates.

“They displayed their dedication by catching the bus at 5:00 a.m. every day to attend their practicum in Yellowknife,” Anne MacKenzie, a social work diploma grad, remarked.

Many others demonstrated devotion to their work, including Master’s of Nursing graduate Elizabeth Martin, who appeared on stage with her infant son, Hunter.

“Hunter has a head start on nurse practitioner education, since he’s already attended two classes,” Arychuk said. “She and her husband are thinking of forming an RCMP/NP team in one of our Northern communities.”

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