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Record number of students graduate from NIC in 2024

Class of 2024 first to be welcomed into new NIC alumni association

A record number of students from North Island College crossed the stage to graduate in four convocation ceremonies this month. Nearly 400 students from all three campuses celebrated at ceremonies held in Port Alberni, Campbell River and two in the Comox Valley.

There were 64 graduates in Port Alberni, many of them receiving their degrees and certificates at ADSS Theatre on June 18, 2024. Two-thirds of the graduates were in NIC Health and Human Services programs. Another 21 finished arts, science and management programs, while others completed trades or upgrading programs.

Kemal Denman from the Adams Lake First Nation received the Lieutenant Governor's Medal for Inclusion, Democracy and Reconciliation as well as a President's Award for Academic Excellence. Denman, from the Comox Valley campus, also received her Indigenous Leadership Certificate. The Governor General's Academic Medal was awarded to Cassidy Hughes from the Practical Nursing Diploma program at the Campbell River campus. Hughes maintained the highest grade point average (GPA) throughout the two-year, full-time program.

Darci Lucas, who completed the Indigenous Leadership Certificate program at the Comox Valley campus, earned the President's Engagement Award for furthering the relationship between the college and her community.

Other president's awards for academic excellence went to: Azmianti Diandrasari, Adult Basic Education (Port Alberni); William Badzio George, University Studies, NIC/UVic dual admissions (Comox Valley); Paul Marshall, Health Care Assistant Certificate (Comox Valley); Cassidy Hughes, Practical Nursing Diploma (Campbell River); Elissa Willms, Communication Design Diploma – Design and Media (Comox Valley); Sam Shearman, Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Comox Valley); and Vanessa Sibayan, Bachelor of Business Administration – General Management (Comox Valley).

This is the first graduating class to be part of the NIC Alumni Network, NIC president Lisa Domae said at the Port Alberni convocation. "More than half of you will graduate into important positions in health and community care."

Riley Walsh, who received her Early Childhood Care and Education Certificate, delivered the students' convocation address. Walsh moved across Canada after suffering the devastating loss of her father in 2020 and falling into a deep depression. She credited her mother with guiding her "through the hardest time of my life."

Walsh moved to B.C. to pursue her education and said it was "terrifying" to make the move without having her friends around her. She said she quickly discovered was not alone.

"Every graduate sitting here today represents a story of determination, resilience, hard work and growth," she said. "You have shaped your own destinies and you should be very proud of yourselves.

"Thank you for being my safety net," she said.

Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I have been the Alberni Valley News editor since August 2006.
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