Virtual Ceremony Caps a Year to Remember
Saturday, May 1st, 2021
Kayla King, Valedictorian for GPRC’s Fairview campus and ThinkBIG Service Technician Diploma graduate.
GPRC Online Convocation Celebrates Graduates.
While in years gone by the 508 seats in the Douglas J. Cardinal Performing Arts Centre and 310 seats in the Fred Speckeen Theatre would have been filled with excited Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) students and families gathering on our Grande Prairie and Fairview campuses; this year, the seats are empty. Instead, the College, surrounding communities, and distinguished guests will honour graduates in a memorable online ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 1.
“We’ve been working very hard since COVID-19 first emerged to protect our students, staff and broader community,” says Dr. Vanessa Sheane, Interim Vice-President, Academic and Research and 2021 Convocation Emcee. “Earlier this year it became abundantly clear that we would need to alter our approach to a virtual format in order to meet our GPRC safety guidelines and comply with public health restrictions.”
With case counts across Alberta rising, GPRC decided to shift convocation to the virtual format. Instead of traditional in-person speeches and activities, students and families were invited to take part in an online celebration to mark the momentous occasion.
“Congratulations. Convocation is a significant milestone for our graduates and their family and friends,” says Dr. Glenn Feltham, Acting GPRC President and CEO. “It takes a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work to succeed in one of our rigorous academic programs. Our students and staff have demonstrated remarkable creativity, adaptability and strength. These are skills that will serve them well in the future. Again, congratulations.”
With 57 per cent of GPRC’s course components temporarily transitioned online this past year, many students have become accustomed to performing in front of a camera. The virtual convocation ceremony will give graduates the opportunity to simply enjoy their moment.
“Not only did we just succeed in graduating from our chosen programs, we succeeded during a year when all the odds were stacked against us,” says Brooke Bjorklund, Valedictorian for GPRC’s Grande Prairie campus and Office Administration graduate. “Deemed the COVID class, we managed to succeed in the face of what seemed to at first be impossible. Today, we stand together, even when we’re apart, after having moved mountains. This is our moment. Congratulations to our COVID Class of 2021.”
“With the skills we now have, we can go places we used to only dream about,” says Tracy Thompson, 2021 Salutatorian and Bachelor of Science Nursing graduate. “COVID-19 changed the way we received our education and our participation in class activities. There were a lot of dedicated teachers, instructors and students on this journey. We even had to learn to Zoom!”
“Things look different from when we began our journey and I know, this is not exactly how we all would have liked to finish up our graduating year. In our time at GPRC, we have learned teamwork, self-management, problem-solving, creativity and leadership which are life-long skills that will serve us well,” says Kayla King, Valedictorian for GPRC’s Fairview campus and ThinkBIG Service Technician Diploma graduate. “We are graduates who came from diverse backgrounds with different career paths in mind, however our end goal was the same; to enhance our lives through higher education and become distinguished professionals.”
GPRC is encouraging everyone to take the time on Saturday, May 1 to celebrate the achievements of graduates from certificate, diploma, apprenticeship and collaborative degree streams. To join the celebration, please visit GPRC.me/Convocation.