I was honoured to attend the recent Aurora College Developmental Studies completion ceremonies for some very impressive adult learners in Yellowknife.
These learners excelled in their adult upgrading and access programs. The first two graduates under the college’s new Prior Learning and Recognition (PLAR) program also were honored for completing their senior secondary diplomas.
Northern United Place was packed with the proud family, friends, well-wishers, children and babies along with some very thrilled Aurora College staff. The learners were a diverse group. I think each person in attendance was moved by what the learners had accomplished. Faces beamed, smiles were broad, and we enjoyed clapping and cheering as each person received recognition.
Robert Voudrach and Michelle Bourke were the first two senior secondary school graduates from the PLAR program. Both received accolades not only for their diplomas, but also for their academic achievement. Both college president, Jane Arychuk, and Gabriela Eggenhofer, Deputy Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, were delighted to present these first-ever diplomas. It will be exciting to see how many more Northerners will follow in their footsteps.
By upgrading their education levels, these students have taken giant steps toward fulfilling their dreams and ambitions. They now have opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. It was an inspiring tribute to learning. Their accomplishments demanded sacrifice and dedication, but judging by the words I heard around the room and the smiles, the efforts were well worth it.
Among the other awards handed out was an honorary Certificate in Adult Education to former NWT Literacy Council Executive Director, Helen Balanoff. It recognized her long-standing dedication and work within the education field, and particularly in literacy.
We are proud to note that the NWT Literacy Council’s vice-president, Suzanne Robinson was the PLAR instructor to the two exceptional graduates.
Congratulations to everyone involved, particularly the students.
We posted a short Aurora College video of Michelle Bourque on our Facebook page. Take a look.
-- Michael Corbett