Con College celebrates grads during “Graduation Week”

Ken Kellar

Now is the time of year when graduates of all stripes would normally be looking forward to their convocation ceremonies. While Confederation College campuses won’t be able to have theirs in person, the college is taking steps to ensure their students still have a special day.
Confederation College campuses across the district and beyond have turned this week into “Graduation Week” for the students who have successfully completed their programs but won’t otherwise get to have a graduation ceremony due to the ongoing restrictions surrounding COVID-19 in the province. The Graduation Week is instead aiming to bring the joy and celebration of accomplishment right to the homes of graduates in a handful of different ways.
The college released a graduation video on Monday that featured a short commencement address from Confederation College President Kathleen Lynch congratulating the Class of 2020 and acknowledging the difficulties they faced as COVID-19 loomed over their final weeks.
“We at Confederation College are beyond proud of all that you have achieved,” Lynch said in the video.
“This year in particular, your resilience has been tested as you worked to complete the final weeks of your program. Overcoming challenges, such that you have done, speaks volumes to your capacity to go out into the world and make a meaningful difference.”
The video also contains words of encouragement from staff and faculty from across the college’s campuses and a list of the close to 1600 students who comprise the graduating class of 2020.
However, the college was not content to put out a video and call it a day. As part of a surprise campaign, staff members from different campuses presented a student from each Confederation College campus with a special “Diploma Delivery” on Monday or Tuesday, delivering a mini-graduation ceremony right to their doors.
On Tuesday afternoon in Fort Frances, and battling 30+ degree weather, staff and faculty from the Rainy River District Campus knocked on Idrissou Ahamadou’s front door to congratulate him on his graduation from his Social Service Worker program. Ahamadou was also selected as one of the College’s examples of student success, which highlights graduates who demonstrated “leadership, resiliency, impressive character and or/ academic excellence, who have made a contribution to the college community,” according to a release from Confederation College.
Without a ceremony to present them, the college also included a list of the award winners that would normally be presented to friends and families during each campuses convocation. In Fort Frances, Yvonne Friesen, another graduate from the Social Service Worker program, was granted the Campus Award of Excellence. That award is given to the graduate from each campus who has achieved the highest academic standing with a minimum grade point average of 3.50 in a diploma level program.
Other graduates of the college will be receiving their credentials beginning this week, and staff at the Rainy River District Campus noted that lawn signs had been handed out to graduates to put in their yards to share their successful graduation with the public.
It is very much not the graduation that students had envisioned when they began their programs at Confederation College, but it is a graduation nonetheless, and Lynch shared encouraging words for the Class of 2020 as they take their next steps.
“We wish all of our graduates continued success as they move forward into the next phase of their lives and encourage them to walk boldly into their futures,” she said.
“As they do, we remind them that Confederation College will be here to cheer them on and will always be here to support them. Congratulations Class of 2020!”