TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
ACC Practical Nursing graduate Jaime Billaney hugs a faculty member after receiving her diploma during Assiniboine Community College's 2012 Graduation Ceremonies at Westman Place on Thursday.
Proudly donning their white nursing uniforms and caps, sisters Lindsey and Brittney Wallace were thrilled to receive their diplomas from Assiniboine Community College together on Thursday.
ACC Environmental Technologies graduate Lisa Hodgins delivers the Valedictory Address during Assiniboine Community College's 2012 Graduation Ceremonies at Westman Place on Thursday. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Brittney, 23 and Lindsey, 20, both decided to pursue a career in the health-care industry and often worked together on projects throughout the two-year ACC program.
"It was a lot of hard work, but it pays off in the end," Brittney said.
The sisters, originally from Roblin, are now looking forward to securing full-time jobs.
"It feels really good. I’m excited," Lindsey said. "It actually went by a lot quicker than I thought it would."
It was the first time LPN students were part of ACC’s full graduation ceremony at the Keystone Centre.
"Typically when they were in the 15-month programs, their programs always ended at times that were different than everyone else," ACC president Mark Frison said. "So it’s really great to have them part of the ceremony."
A total of 543 students graduated from 34 different programs and there were 143 apprenticeship graduates from eight different programs.
Lisa Hodgins, an environmental technologies graduate, was the Class of 2012 valedictorian.
"If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there," was the quote Hodgins referenced in her speech.
"It’s not really your end goal or your plan, it’s how you get there, the people you meet and the opportunities that fall into place when you choose to pursue them," Hodgins said.
Hodgins said her experience at ACC was one she’ll never forget.
"The faculty and administration have been really supportive," she said. "It was a good experience to start here."
Hodgins was also the recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Silver Medal. The award is given to a graduate who excelled academically and contributed positively to the college and community, while displaying an outstanding personality and strength of character.
Danielle Gobeil, a graduate from the aboriginal community development program, was the other recipient of the silver medal.
"It’s really exciting. I didn’t expect to get that," said Gobeil, who was also the president of ACC Students’ Association.
Gobeil, originally from Winnipeg, is looking forward to the next step in life.
"It feels really good but at the same time it feels really scary," she said. "Because now it’s like you have to get a job and start life. You’re not in school anymore."
During the ceremony, former Brandon RHA CEO Carmel Olson was presented with an honorary diploma in health studies.
"Assiniboine Community College is proud to recognize Carmel for her professional achievements and distinguished community contributions," Frison said. "Carmel was a strong advocate of our health-care programs where students and graduates continue to work for the regional health-care authorities."
Olson began her four-decade career in the health-care field as a pediatric nurse and retired as the CEO of Brandon RHA in 2011.
"Through my career in Manitoba, I’ve enjoyed long-time partnerships with ACC. They’re ability to respond to the system and help us sustain the system through their programs is very important to the community," Olson said. "I’m flattered and humbled to be recognized."
A total of 162 students graduated with distinction — a cumulative weighted grade point average of 4.0 or greater. Forty-four scholarships and awards were presented to graduates, totalling more than $25,000.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 15, 2012