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Valedictorians: Class of 2018

Meet the 2018 NSCC Valedictorians. These phenomenal students, selected by their campuses, represent the achievements and experiences of their graduating class.


Ross Avey
Akerley Campus
Ross Avey

When Ross Avey began the Automotive Service & Repair program at NSCC, he had never even used a drill; however, he was confident that the College would prepare him to enter a new field. Already a graduate of NSCC's Music Arts program, Ross says his previous experience was all he needed to know that he was making the right choice.

As he graduates with a second diploma, Ross feels proud to be a part of the trades industry and plans on attaining his Red Seal certification. He will also use his music background to continue teaching music to children while working in the automotive industry.

Ross reminds his fellow graduates to allow themselves to grow: "Nothing beats experience. There is honour in the work we do, and we need to feel proud of it. As apprentices and new employees, we will learn from our mentors and, one day, pass that information on. We are the future mentors of the next generation."

David Jarvis MBE
Akerley Campus
David Jarvis MBE

When David's research led him to NSCC’s Boulanger & Baking Art program, he knew he had found the right fit. As an international student, David describes his experience as welcoming and felt everyone wanted him to succeed.

David is looking to apply the skills he’s learned to foster his career as a baker and hopes to settle in Canada with his family.

His message to the class of 2018: "Being happy in life is the most important thing you can strive for. That piece of paper you worked so hard to get is not a life changer, it's a life starter. You have to take everything you have learned from your teachers, classmates, friends and family and continue to grow and learn, to use it and to make the experience work for you."

Ian MacLean
Annapolis Valley Campus
Ian MacLean

Ian chose the Plumbing Certificate program at NSCC because of its blend of theory and hands-on instruction. As a mature student, Ian brought over a decade of work experience to his studies, where he gained confidence, and developed and honed new skills. Ian is grateful to his wife and children who supported him when he went back to study. Through his example, they saw that with hard work and determination you can achieve your goals.

His plans after graduation include working full-time, working toward his Red Seal certification, and building a good reputation within the industry.

Ian encourages his fellow graduates to take charge of their future: "Don't let time and the world pass you by. If you feel passionately about something, then do it. Work hard. Create your own outcomes. Surround yourself with good people that care about you and support you. With that, anything is possible."

Denise Vachon
Annapolis Valley Campus
Denise Vachon

Seeking an educational experience that would challenge her, Denise chose to attend NSCC's Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS). She says that the Advanced Diploma in Geographic Sciences showed her she was capable of managing a higher workload than she ever imagined. During her time at NSCC, she also learned to embrace her drive to lead and empower others by sharing what she is passionate about with her community.

Denise plans to continue her education in urban planning and is beginning a career in geographic information systems development with Esri.

Her message to the class of 2018: "When times get tough, as they do, remember that you made it through COGS. You have concrete evidence now that you can handle more than you ever imagined."

Keegan O'Connell
Burridge Campus
Keegan O'Connell

Keegan says that as a person with severe hearing loss, he has had to persevere to overcome a variety of challenges in his life. However, it has never stopped him from achieving his goals. Keegan is already a graduate of NSCC's Welding program, and returned to the College to study Business Administration – Accounting. Through the program, Keegan has developed a range of skills he can bring to the workforce.

As he graduates with his second diploma, Keegan plans to use NSCC's articulation agreement to further his education and attain a degree and, one day, earn a chartered professional accountant or chartered financial analyst designation.

His message to the class of 2018: "Work hard and never stop learning. Take constructive criticism and improve yourself, and you can achieve almost anything you want in life. Even though your career goals are very important, don’t forget there’s more to life as well. Being happy is vital to a person’s success."

Kristine MacDonald
Cumberland Campus
Kristine MacDonald

Missing the salty, sea air and the wide-open skies, Kristine enrolled in NSCC's Early Childhood Education program – a decision that allowed her to return home from Toronto, and train for a career she knew she would enjoy. Kristine says she appreciated the College's positive, supportive environment and has grown more self-assured and confident in her abilities.

As she graduates, Kristine is pursuing her career in early childhood education and is looking forward to combining her previous experience working with children, with the theory and skills she has learned in her program.

Her message to the class of 2018: "Remember to be kind to one another. We teach this to children, but we often forget this later on in life. Treat everyone with kindness. It takes only seconds and it can mean the world to those you encounter."

Emily McLellan
Institute of Technology Campus
Emily McLellan

Emily chose NSCC for two reasons: to obtain the credentials she needed to find work in her field, and the College's reputation for being a strong voice for women in trades. Emily brought six years of industry work experience to her studies in the Occupational Health & Safety program. Through her diploma, she gained confidence in her skills and knowledge, learned how to network and became more focused on her long-term goals. Emily says her instructors and classmates have been instrumental in her growth.

As she graduates, Emily is looking forward to pursuing her career in occupational health and safety. Since returning home from Alberta, she says she is drawn to working near or on the ocean in the industrial field.

Emily leaves her fellow graduates with this quote: "There is only one proof of ability – action." ∼ Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach.

Aura Vasilovici
Institute of Technology Campus
Aura Vasilovici

After doing some research, Aura was drawn to NSCC for its practical programs and work placement opportunities. She was interested in the Health Information Management program, which offered practical work training and a challenging curriculum. Aura says her experience at NSCC has helped her grow personally and professionally, and during her studies, she gained valuable organizational skills that further developed her career interests.

As she graduates, Aura plans to gain experience in coding so she can branch out to other areas of her field.

Aura wants her fellow graduates to know that success depends on many factors. Her message to the class of 2018: "Look for the positive aspects in every situation, overcome obstacles and always put your best self forward."

Ryan Elizabeth Gallant
Ivany Campus
Ryan Elizabeth Gallant

After doing some research and then talking to family and friends who graduated from NSCC, Ryan decided to follow in their footsteps. As part of the Practical Nursing program, she participated in activities, testing, labs and projects and in volunteer and mentorship opportunities. These experiences have taught Ryan more about the community, herself and have contributed to her growth mentally, emotionally and professionally.

Ryan's goal is to make a difference and be a nurse that people remember fondly. She aims to continue her education and earn her registered nurse designation. She hopes to eventually work on a medical surgical unit or in an emergency room.

No matter their career choice, to her fellow graduates, Ryan says, "What once was a thought or dream is now our reality, and we'll walk together into our community and make it a better place."

Rachelle Garand
Ivany Campus
Rachelle Garand

Rachelle first became interested in NSCC while she was in high school, and completed the College's Business Administration – Management program in 2015. While working as an office administrator for a construction company, Rachelle discovered her passion for construction drawings. She made the decision to return to NSCC for the Architectural Engineering Technician program, and to gain the hands-on learning experience she needed to further her passion. Rachelle enjoyed the smaller class sizes and supportive faculty at NSCC and says the College gave her the skills to succeed in her academic and career pursuit.

As she graduates, Rachelle aims to use the skills she’s gained from both diplomas to build a fulfilling career in the construction industry.

Rachelle's message to the class of 2018: "As you all become part of exciting and innovative developments in our province, country and the world, I ask that you remember the most important lesson we have learned during our time at NSCC: How to work together as a community."

Holly Latter
Ivany Campus
Holly Latter

Believing that hands-on experience is the key to achieving success, Holly looked to NSCC for the practical experience and the dedicated instructors who help students succeed. She enjoyed the supportive community atmosphere on campus, including the engaging events and cultural diversity. Holly says she has grown confident in her ability to apply the knowledge she’s gained in the Industrial Engineering Technology program and in her ability to achieve results.

Holly plans to pursue her career as an industrial engineering technologist and remain involved with the College and hopes to return to NSCC in the role of mentor to future students in the program.

Holly's message to the class of 2018: "When faced with adversity, keep going. If you're determined to succeed, you will, but not if you surrender. Think long-term. The strife you experience today is only a stepping stone to your success. Know who you want to be and be happy with the choices you’ve made to become a better you."

Brittany Warren
Ivany Campus
Brittany Warren

No stranger to post-secondary education, Brittany, a bachelor of fine arts grad, chose NSCC for its hands-on learning approach, small class sizes and dedication to getting students into the workforce. Through the Business Administration – Marketing program and her leadership on the Enactus NSCC Ivany team, Brittany has gained self-confidence in her public speaking abilities, as well as her critical thinking skills.

Her next step is to gain valuable marketing experience while interning at an agency and to discover how to use her creative roots within the Halifax business sector.

Brittany's message to the class of 2018: "Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is where you learn grace and innovation. It will humble you and allow you to reflect, but will also give you the freedom and confidence to build yourself back up. People won't remember how you failed, they'll only remember how you managed to climb back to the top."

Lesley McGill
Kingstec Campus
Lesley McGill

Inspired by her son and the circumstances which followed a significant family medical diagnosis, Lesley turned to NSCC to upgrade her education and broaden the opportunities available to her. Through the Business Administration program, Lesley built on her education and experiences, updated her credentials and rediscovered her passion for learning. She worked hard to show her son, first-hand, that it’s never too late to strive for a better future.

Lesley is excited to explore new opportunities and foster community connections as she graduates. She is also looking forward to spending some quality time with her family.

Her message to the class of 2018: "Don't be afraid to ask for help. Support others as you make your way in the world. Remember to be kind to others and volunteer your time. The world needs more of this."

Morgan Theriault
Kingstec Campus
Morgan Theriault

Hearing positive comments about NSCC's Kingstec Campus facilities and programs, Morgan decided to enrol in the Continuing Care program – an experience that has led to personal growth and discovery. Through the program, Morgan increased her knowledge of the field, made new friends and created lasting memories.

Morgan plans to continue her education and return to NSCC to complete the Practical Nursing program.

Her message to the class of 2018: "It's very important that we never doubt ourselves. With confidence, we can go on to do great things with our lives."

Cody Whynot
Kingstec Campus
Cody Whynot

Cody enrolled in the Horticulture & Landscape Technology – Operations program at NSCC to pursue the career he always wanted: working outdoors. In the program, he acquired hands-on knowledge that left him feeling confident to enter the industry.

Today, Cody is employed with a large plant nursery in Fredericton. His goal is to, one day, run a native plant nursery of his own.

He wants his fellow graduates to know they are not alone as they head out into the world: "The world can seem like a scary place, but others feel that way too. If we can all acknowledge that, and work together, then the world won’t seem as scary."

Katie Dauphinee
Lunenburg Campus
Katie Dauphinee

Even before she entered the public school system in Grade 9 after being homeschooled, Katie knew that NSCC's combination of theory and hands-on training was the right choice for her. Obtaining a seat through the province's Options and Opportunities (O2) program, Katie became a student in the Business Administration – Accounting program. She describes her experience as unforgettable, and is grateful for the dedication of her instructors. Katie says her time at the College has expanded her knowledge in different areas and she enjoyed spending time with her classmates and hearing the diverse views of her peers.

Katie plans to stay on the South Shore and continue living her dream of working with local, small businesses.

Her message to the class of 2018: "Be confident in yourself and others. Think about how hard you have worked to get this far, and know that recognizing the value of hard work and dedication will take us all so far in life."

Katie Borland
Marconi Campus
Katie Borland

Katie enrolled in NSCC's Practical Nursing program to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse. She was inspired by the success her friends had found through the program and drawn to NSCC because of its reputation for supporting mature students and those with families. In the program, Katie relished the opportunity to prove her capabilities and enjoyed overcoming the challenges the curriculum set for her. She is confident now in pursuing her career, knowing she has the tools to succeed.

Katie plans to work as a licensed practical nurse and continue her learning journey.

Her message to the class of 2018: "Never be afraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Always remember who you are and where you come from. Embrace what makes you unique and be proud of yourself for all your perfect imperfections."

David Hawley
Marconi Campus
David Hawley

Entering NSCC's Continuing Care program was a life-changing decision for David. There, he blossomed and grew as a person, becoming more comfortable and confident in his skills and abilities.

Having already secured employment, David will continue working and furthering his nursing education so he can attain a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse designation. David hopes to eventually apply his previous business education to the health care field and secure a management position and, one day, run for political office.

David's message to the class of 2018: "Dream big and follow those dreams. Be proud of what you do and where you can go, rather than be disappointed in what you could have done or what might have been. We have all accomplished something very meaningful this year and have made it that much closer to our destination."

Lee Cowan
Pictou Campus
Lee Cowan

Lee was interested in several programs at NSCC's Pictou Campus and enrolled in the Adult Learning Program to earn her diploma and complete the prerequisite courses she needed. Through her hard work, she has gained confidence in her abilities.

Lee is returning to NSCC this fall as a student in the Electronic Engineering Technician program with the goal of working in the computer industry.

Her message to the class of 2018: "Remember to accept challenges. Face them with courage, compassion and confidence. Go ahead and take a chance. You never know until you try."

Cale Mowat
Shelburne Campus
Cale Mowat

With his father's encouragement, Cale returned home to Nova Scotia after working in Alberta, and enrolled in NSCC's Plumbing program. Although nervous at first, he quickly adapted, and became involved in student life – forming new friendships and lasting memories. During his time at NSCC, Cale developed leadership skills, became more confident in his public speaking abilities and how to strive for excellence.

As he graduates, Cale plans to pursue a career in his field and eventually start his own plumbing business. He also intends to bring his skills to the field of real estate.

Cale's message to the class of 2018: "You have everything you need to become a successful and productive member of society. There is always help if you need it, but it takes will to achieve anything. Work for happiness, not for wealth. Speak up, vote and be kind and accepting toward others."

Keisha Price-Pierro
Strait Area Campus
Keisha Price-Pierro

Keisha chose to attend NSCC to develop strong communication skills, meet new friends and discover new opportunities. She joined the campus student association when her classmates in the Office Administration program elected her as their student representative.

Keisha is not only a student at the campus, but also an employee. Through the RBC Student Works Fund – a program supported through a partnership between the NSCC Foundation and RBC – she works as a file archivist at NSCC. Keisha says the opportunity has helped her overcome several personal challenges. Now, Keisha is taking leadership courses at the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce and is enrolled in an online financial management course with a dream to, one day, open her own business.

Keisha encourages her fellow graduates to never stop learning, be kind to others and stay focused. Her message to the class of 2018: "Don’t be afraid to speak up because there are people who care and genuinely want to help."

Jean-Marie James
Truro Campus
Jean-Marie James

With a foundation from previous experience and accreditations, NSCC's Advanced Diploma in International Business appealed to Jean-Marie. As an international student, Jean-Marie felt like part of a larger family on campus and enjoyed focusing on her studies and being involved in student life and the community.

Her time at NSCC has solidified her career choice and helped clarify her goals. These include pursuing a career in international recruiting, attaining a PhD in organizational behaviour and development, becoming a professor and operating her own consultancy firm.

Jean-Marie's advice for the class of 2018: "Life is a journey – not a destination. It doesn't matter where you start, but that you continue until you achieve success and become the best version of yourself."

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