FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With classes winding down at Northern Lights College, the graduating class had a virtual convocation ceremony on Friday.
The ceremony was opened with a special message of congratulation from Fort Nelson First Nation Chief Sharleen Gale and a traditional song performed by the Doig River Drummers.
A number of awards were presented to graduating students for their achievements at NLC. Registrar Warren Stokes presented the Governor General’s Academic Medal to the student with the highest academic average during the school year, Maris Elizabeth Thompson. With a grade point average of 4.28 of a possible 4.33, Thompson graduates with a diploma in early childhood education and care.
The Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Inclusion, Democracy, and Reconciliation was awarded to Sankalp Chawla. Chawla is a graduate of the social services worker diploma and was chosen to be one of the class valedictorians.
“Sankalp demonstrated his commitment to inclusion early on at Northern Lights College. Arriving several months early, he not only volunteered at his own orientation, he then volunteered to support the Student Refugee Program, which is a World University Services of Canada program that allows new arrivals to pursue or continue higher education,” says Stokes.
Laura Linklater Doyle gave the second valedictorian speech, recognizing the diverse group of students and speaking to the valuable insight she learned from her fellow classmates.
“My peers were from places such as India, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Jamaica, Nigeria, Italy, South America, Mexico and Russia. We all came together under the college to create an atmosphere of reciprocity while learning from our differences and celebrating our commonalities in the best way,” says Doyle.
Karl Mattson was given the Honorary Associate of Arts Degree Award. The award recognizes people who have made direct and significant contributions to the college region, distinguishing themselves provincially, nationally, or internationally.
“His large metal sculptures are often statements on environmental issues he sees concerning the region. His work has won several prestigious awards, and is known throughout the Peace Region,” says Board Chair Tyler Holte.
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