College grad marks many milestones

Summer reporter
Stephanie Hagenaars

The local campus of Confederation College held its annual convocation ceremony Monday afternoon at the Townshend Theatre.
Fourteen graduates were in attendance from programs including business fundamentals, Aboriginal-Canadian relations, nursing, and paramedics, among others.
College president Jim Madder spoke to the graduates and their families, expressing excitement and pleasure to be a part of the 2018 convocation.
“Each of our graduates has a story,” he noted. “Each is different but each is equally meaningful.
“Our stories are the legacies of our lives,” Madder added. “Each part of your life represents a chapter of your story and to our graduates today, you are closing one of those chapter and opening another.”
Madder also said the campus here in Fort Frances has continued to impress him throughout his time as president.
“Every time I’ve been here, three or four times a year, remarkable people we have working here in support of our students, remarkable dedication of our students, and remarkable pride of the community,” he remarked.
Last year, the college celebrated its 50th anniversary since opening in Thunder Bay. And this year, Confederation College graduated its 50,000th student.
“Tens of thousands of stories continue to be written by our alumni; each one unique, each one having a great impact on our communities and, ultimately, the world,” Madder said.
Fort Frances Coun. June Caul also spoke at the ceremony.
In addition to thanking the families and friends of the graduates for their support, she also thanked the educators for sharing their “expertise and knowledge to teach others to be the best that they can be.”
“Graduates, you have reached a milestone in your lives and a wide world of adventures and experiences await you,” Coun. Caul said.
“Don’t ever let anyone or anything stop you from achieving all the goals you set for yourself.
“Always be the best you can be and work to the best of your ability in whatever job you’re doing,” she stressed.
“Never quit learning every day.”
Before the graduates walked across the stage, they were honoured with a song entitled “If Only” that was composed and sung by local resident Anna Schwartz on the piano.
Edward Kabatay was among the graduates–completing both the Native Child and Family Services program and the Aboriginal-Canadian Relations Board of Governors’ certificate program after receiving his General Arts and Science diploma back in 2016.
He said he decided to go back to school to demonstrate the importance of education and to be a positive role model for his grandchildren.
He, along with five other graduates, received the Academic Award of Excellence, which are granted to those full-time students who achieved the highest academic standing in each program.
Patti Pella, vice-president of academic, presented the Academic Awards of Excellence to Marilou Amarmille, Natasha Bragg, Gloria Hamm, Selene Leblanc, Jillian Mainville, and Kabatay.
Leblanc, a graduate of the Social Services Worker diploma program, received the Campus Award of Excellence–given to a graduate who has attended full-time studies while also achieving the highest academic standing at the campus (minimum 3.5 GPA).