Skip to main content Skip to site utility navigation Skip to main site navigation Skip to site search Skip to footer

NSCC valedictorian graduates alongside daughter

2024 NSCC Cumberland Campus graduates Genevieve and Scott MacKay.
NSCC Cumberland Campus valedictorian Scott MacKay graduated alongside his daughter Genevieve MacKay in June 2024.
At NSCC’s Cumberland Campus, this year's graduation ceremony was marked by a unique celebration: 2024 Carpentry graduate and valedictorian Scott MacKay will be celebrating his achievements alongside his daughter, Genevieve MacKay, who graduated from the Social Services program.

Scott's path to NSCC began after completing a 25-year career in the Canadian Armed Forces, where he served in various roles, including Marine Electrician and Intelligence Operator. Transitioning from military life, Scott found himself contemplating his next steps. "I had no idea what I was going to do," he recalls. "I needed to do something, and NSCC was convenient and had the program I wanted."

The Carpentry program appealed to Scott for its hands-on approach and practical applications. After Scott moved back to his childhood home in Amherst to help care for his mother, Scott saw an opportunity to learn the skills needed to undertake renovations for the home. "I looked around and I was getting astronomical quotes for things like a roof or siding and doing windows, so I said, 'I'm going to do carpentry.'"

One unique aspect of Scott's NSCC journey was sharing it with his daughter, Genevieve. Both father and daughter applied to College around the same time, with Genevieve initially studying at Truro Campus before transferring to Cumberland Campus. "It was pretty neat," Scott says. "You're still looking out for your kid, but you're also sort of a peer in a weird way," he laughs.

The two carpooled and supported each other throughout the year. "It definitely enhanced my experience," Scott reflects. "Seeing her grow as a person and an adult was worth its weight in gold. It got to the point where people were saying, 'Hey, that's Genevieve's dad,' or 'That's Scott's daughter.'"
Scott and Genevieve MacKay wearing their grad gowns.
Scott was nominated as valedictorian by one of the Carpentry program faculty members. Despite Scott’s experience in public speaking from his military career, he admits to feeling nervous about his valedictory address, noting that Genevieve gave him feedback. In his speech, Scott planned on focusing on the theme of perseverance and openness to new experiences. "Don't box yourself in," he emphasizes. "There were so many times I thought, 'I'm not going to go to school. This isn't for me.' But after I got past that boundary, everything was smooth sailing. Just be open to everything."

For Scott and Genevieve, their future looks bright. Scott is considering returning to NSCC to take the two-year Business Administration program, with the goal to start his own carpentry and renovation business. Genevieve will continue her education at Mount Allison University in the fall, working towards a career as a social worker. "Graduating alongside my daughter is one of those unforgettable life experiences,” he says. “It was incredibly special to share this milestone together, and it made me proud beyond words.”