Selkirk College to Celebrate Class of 2014
Selkirk College will pay tribute to its past and send students off into promising futures at the annual Graduation Ceremony in Castlegar on Friday.
A total of 765 students will graduate from the regional college this spring. Friday’s ceremony is expected to include up to 275 students who will receive diplomas or certificates in a wide array of Selkirk College programs.
“This is one of my favourite weeks in the annual life of the college,” said Selkirk President Angus Graeme. “It is tremendous to recognize all the hard work students have put in over the course of their studies. Getting to share their success with families, friends, instructors, staff and the college’s amazing extended family makes it even that much more special.”
Selkirk has been graduating students for almost 50 years and each ceremony comes with a wise send-off from a fellow student. Plant Operator Program student Hart Joron has been chosen to deliver the valedictory speech for the Class of 2014.
“It was kind of a shock actually, but it’s a huge honour,” said Joron. “I guess I’ve done something right while I was here.”
The Plant Operator Program is based out of Nelson’s Silver King Campus. Program instructor Bruce McMaster nominated Joron because of the impressive qualities he saw in the straight-A student from the opening day of class.
“As a student Hart was supportive of his fellow students to an outstanding degree,” says McMaster. “He always took the time to listen quietly to others, share his acquired knowledge and generally contribute to everyone’s success. He’s a really smart, easy-going person with a big heart.”
Delivering the valedictory speech is a daunting task. Joron—who grew up in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and returned to post-secondary after almost 10 years away from school—says he will focus on what has got him to this point.
“I live my life a certain way,” Joron said. “The career and all the responsibility are important, but the most important thing is to be happy with yourself.”
Friday’s ceremony will include many special moments, one of which will be when Selkirk College pioneer and legend John Adams is honoured with the Distinguished Educator Award.
As the third person hired by Selkirk College during its germination in 1966, Adams was tasked with creating the now renowned Forest Technology Program. His 33-year career as an educator and department leader touched hundreds of lives and made an important impact on an industry that’s vital to British Columbia’s foundation.
“I’m very honoured and surprised by the award,” the ever-humble Adams said last week from his back deck overlooking south Castlegar. “It was fun… I didn’t know how else to do it. It was just the best job in the world. You don’t think about the impact your career has, I was just happy to be in such a beautiful place and have total freedom to establish such an important program.”
Adams’ passion for teaching ensured that the Forest Technology Program quickly established a solid reputation in the industry. Over his 33-year career, Adams continued to lead the Department of Renewable Resources, helped create the Wildland Recreation Technology Program (now known as Recreation, Fish and Wildlife) and never lost the tenacity to always improve.
“John had a distinct work ethic and while not professed in words, it showed through in many ways from engaging in a program advisory committee to informed curriculum and managing the school and faculty,” said former student Pete Schroder, who graduated from the Forest Technology Program in 1988 and has since gone on to a successful career in the industry. “What struck me most is his willingness to pick up a saw or shovel and get into the work himself. I am proud to say his work ethic is an example I try to aspire to in my own endeavors.”
Selkirk will also present Eric MacFarlane with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. MacFarlane graduated from the Business Administration Program and was the Selkirk College valedictorian for the Class of 1989. Today, MacFarlane is the operations manager at the Trail AMEC office, one of the world’s leading engineering, project management and consultancy companies.