News Archives: Biggest Convocation Yet at GPRC
Released: Friday, May 2nd, 2014
The latest graduates of Grande Prairie Regional College are being honoured for their achievements this weekend in a packed gymnasium. Some 250 of the students completing programs at GPRC will be attending Convocation ceremonies this year, and their families and friends will mean a capacity crowd for the occasion. The total graduating class is approximately 400 for the Academic Year 2013-2014.
Convocation ceremonies at GPRC annually include speeches from two students representing the graduates: the Valedictorian, who has completed a GPRC credential with academic excellence and contribution to college life; and the Salutatorian who has completed a collaborative baccalaureate degree at GPRC with academic excellence.
The Paul J. Evaskevich Valedictorian Award recognizes Katelynn Pedersen for her contributions to college life and for her academic excellence.
Katelynn Pedersen graduated from St. Joe’s High School in Grande Prairie, and it was a few years later when she decided to enrol at GPRC. She was considering several post-secondary options, and was above all looking for a sense of community, a sense of engagement with classmates and instructors. During the months she has been completing her Business Administration certificate, Katelynn has exemplified the academic achievement, leadership, contribution to the College and personal growth qualities which are identified by this award.
She is a committed volunteer with community groups such as South Peace Ball Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Photography Club. Katelynn was also part of the team of five who volunteered their time for several weekends and evenings in order to compete in the Alberta Business Deans Case Competition – and the GPRC team achieved 3rd place in the province!
Katelynn is enthusiastic about working to enhance college life for her peers, and was recently elected Vice President Outreach of the Students’ Association at GPRC. She is also seeking a position on the Alberta Students’ Executive Council, a province-wide responsibility.
Her list of involvement in student activities and services is already extensive, and she has numerous plans for the coming year which will enhance the student life experience here at GPRC.
Katelynn Pedersen is passionate about the importance of education, to individuals, and to the communities in which they live. Her future plans include completing her Business diploma, then going on to pursue a degree. She believes that community is best built by those individuals who are passionate about what they do, and that education helps people see better potential for themselves. Katelynn herself says she is pursuing a future much bigger than she ever thought it could be – and is thrilled to share her passion in her Valedictory address at Convocation 2014.
The Beth Sheehan Salutatorian Award 2014 is presented to Qiujin (Jean) Zheng who is graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce, offered at GPRC in collaboration with Athabasca University.
Jean grew up in China, and came to Grande Prairie to study soon after she turned 18. Her sense of adventure, a desire to experience authentic Canadian culture, and determination to pursue higher education overcame any worries or concerns she might have had. Jean’s parents, who always emphasized the importance of education for a successful future, have been strong supporters of her efforts throughout the past years, and have travelled from China to celebrate her accomplishments at Convocation.
Education is important, Jean says, not only for the career opportunities it opens, but for the opportunity to change lives. “It is how you use the knowledge you have gained that is the true value,” she explains. During her years as a student, she has also been an enthusiastic volunteer for various community events, and has worked part-time as a computer lab assistant, where she quickly became known for her helpful attitude and resourcefulness.
Coming to Canada has been a life-changing decision for Jean Zheng. She is very happy to be here, and excited to begin her new career as an accountant in training at Fletcher Mudryk & Co. LLP. Jean would like to express her appreciation for all the people who have come into her life here – teachers and new friends including her “significant other” – for their open minds and welcoming arms.
Representing her fellow graduates at Convocation 2014 is a welcome responsibility for Jean, and an honour she is exceptionally happy to be able to share with her parents.
Zheng and Pedersen will share some of the highlights and insights of their GPRC years with fellow graduates and guests.
“Our students continue to amaze us with their personal and academic accomplishments,” says Susan Bansgrove, VP Academic at GPRC who traditionally emcees the Convocation ceremonies. “We are exceptionally proud of each and every one of these graduates as they go off in pursuit of their life dreams. We know they will be creating a better future for all of us.”
Convocation 2014 is the concluding ceremony of the 48th Academic Year GPRC Grande Prairie.