More than 40 graduates from seven graduate, undergraduate and certificate programs celebrated with family and friends as they crossed the stage at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre.
When Shelley Potter crossed the stage at the R.E.M. Lee Theatre in Terrace on Monday, it was the next step in her journey to a new career as a teacher, something made possible by the revitalized Bachelor of Education program at UNBC’s Northwest campus.
As the mother of two young children, Potter was keen to complete her studies, but she didn’t want to uproot her family.
“I wouldn’t have completed my Bachelor of Education unless it was here in Terrace, it simply wouldn’t have been an option for me,” Potter says. “So, I’m incredibly grateful it was an option for me.”
Potter was one of 17 Bachelor of Education graduates to cross the stage at Monday’s celebration, joining 17 Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates, three Bachelor of Social Work graduates, one Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies graduate, one Bachelor of Planning graduate, one Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries graduate and three Certificate in First Nations Language – Tsimshian graduates.
Potter was selected as the class speaker for the Bachelor of Education program and spoke about the bonds that formed between the classmates as they journeyed through the 20-month program together. Potter and her classmates are the first graduates of the redesigned program that allows the cohorts at the Terrace and Quesnel campuses to learn together through a combination of a combination of face-to-face instruction, blended learning and immersive sessions.
Potter told the assembled group of family, friends and well-wishers that she’s confident this group of teachers will bring excitement, engagement and enthusiasm to their classrooms.
Having the opportunity to study close to home was a theme for many of the graduates. For Melissa Andrei, it meant being able to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in the community where she grew up and is now excited to begin her career working in mental health and substance use outreach.
“Being close to home was a huge factor in choosing nursing for me,” she says. “Being able to be home and do the full four years in my hometown was comforting and made it less stressful.”
This is the 15th graduating class of the Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program in Terrace, offered in partnership with Coast Mountain College. Senior Instructor in Nursing Amy Klepetar told the audience that since the program was launched more than 200 nurses have graduated and many are working in communities across northwestern B.C., and some are even teaching in the program.
The ceremony, which was opened by the ‘Na Aksa Gyliak ‘yoo drummers, included an opening prayer from Elder Sharon Bryant, greetings from UNBC Chancellor Darlene McIntosh and President Dr. Geoff Payne, and speeches from UNBC faculty members and graduating students.