MIRAMICHI – “Like a bird upon the wind, These waters are my sky, I’ll never reach my destination, If I never try…”
The uplifting chorus from the Garth Brooks song The River seemed to put into words the emotions of graduates and families who gathered at NBCC Miramichi to celebrate perseverance and success.
At the ceremony for Miramichi Adult Learning graduates Monday night, many clapped along to their graduation song as Buff Durelle sang and played guitar. Not all of the 39 men and women could be present for the event but those who were able to attend in their green graduation gowns beamed as family members and friends lined up to snap photos and offer congratulations.
Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas attended the ceremony and shook hands with each of the graduates beforehand. He told of his experience coming from the Tobique First Nation into the English school system and not passing first grade.
“I know the sad humiliation that comes from failing,” said Nicholas, a former judge. He told graduates his story of determination to learn, work hard and improve himself proves “from failure comes hope.”
Adult learners often had to travel distances, spend time away from their families and their employment and put in hours of schoolwork and study, he said.
“You must have asked yourselves if you really wanted it, if it was worth it, but deep inside you, you wanted to improve yourselves.
“May you continue to study, may you continue to learn, may you continue to pass on teachings to the next generation.”
Minister of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour Martine Coulombe also spoke to the graduates.
“Every second you worked to be here tonight is what it’s all about,” she said. “For some of you it was to provide for your families, for some of you it was to improve yourself.”
To the teachers, she said “never doubt your work is making a difference … helping to open doors.”
Achieving the highest overall standing among the graduates was valedictorian Roxanne Basque, who said her goal is to become a nurse.
“The hardest part for everyone was taking the GED,” she said.
“We thank our teachers and families for being there and helping us with everything.”
A moving video entitled “I believe” featured graduates holding signs expressing what they have come to believe. Among the messages: “I believe my GED is a gift to our daughter.” “I believe I can be what I want.” “I believe in being a positive role model for my grandchildren.”
Another video presentation had graduates sending thank you messages to teachers, family and friends who pushed and inspired them to pursue their education goals.
“We’re all on a journey, and our journey is not always easy,” said Rick Bruce, a teacher at Boiestown Community Adult Learning.
He urged those in the audience to take home a message of hope and inspiration from the adult graduates.
“You may be here tonight without your Grade 12 … or there may be people at home without it … These graduates will show you that you can do it.”
In his closing prayer he described Miramichi Adult Learning as “a family working together for the good of the community.”
Almira M. Augustine
Sharon P. Barrieau
Roxanne M. Basque
Jean Paul Comeau
Kirk S. Cooney
Katie M. Curtis
Beverly A. Denny
Megan E. Godfrey
Sally M. Hébert
Deanna M. Hogan
Wavey J. Howell
Eric J. Joe
Lacy A. Kent
Louis P. Levesque
Albert J. Louie
Lyndon N. Lyons
Glenna M. Malley
Justin P. Pallen
Juanita B. Patton
Charlene M. Paul
Alyssa L. Robinson
Norma L. Shannon
Mark D. Simon
Michael R. Simon
Noel C. Simon
Michele L. Stewart
Yvon R. St.Pierre
Christine L. Ward
Wayne E. Wilson
Wendy L. White
Craig G. Zemp
- Dorothy Creighton Writing Awards (named in honour of a charter member of the Miramichi Literacy Council): First place – Norma L. Shannon, Nova Learning Centre, Boiestown; second place – Mavis Arbeau, Nova Learning Centre, Boiestown; third place – Erica Hartley, Chatham C, Miramichi;
- Highest mark in Reading: Norma Shannon of the Boiestown class;
- Highest mark in Math: Fernand Doucet of the Rogersville class;
- Highest mark in Science – Juanita Patton of the Chatham class;
- Highest mark in Social Studies – Kirk Cooney of the Eel Ground class;
- Highest mark in Writing: Michelle Stewart of the Blackville class;
- Valedictorian award for the highest standing in the graduating class: Roxanne Basque of the Chatham class.
Fri Jun 10 2011
Byline: Charlene MacKenzie firstname.lastname@example.org