Valedictorians: Class of 2017

Meet the outstanding students, chosen by their campuses, that represented the achievements and experiences of the Class of 2017.


Jake Gritten
Akerley Campus
Jake Gritten

Pursuing his dream career, Jake enrolled in the Automotive Service & Repair program at Akerley Campus. Through his studies, he has learned a range of skills and gained confidence, along with a drive to succeed. He has made lasting friendships with his fellow students and is grateful to his instructors for their support.

Jake hopes to live life to the fullest and establish a fulfilling career as an Automotive Technician.

He encourages the Class of 2017 to take pride in their accomplishments. "Graduating from college is a tremendous feat. Many people believe that you can't go back to school if you've waited too long, had children, or didn't do so well in high school. For those students who did go back, despite the odds, congratulations. You've proven that anyone can pursue a higher education no matter the circumstance."

Zachary Fredericks
Annapolis Valley Campus
Zachary Fredericks

While studying Geographic Sciences – Cartography Concentration, Zachary thrived in the learning environment of the COGS community. He has gained a sense of self-confidence in his academic ability and is appreciative of the support he has received from his peers and faculty.

After graduating, Zachary plans to travel and spend quality time with his friends and family. In the future, he would like to partner with his friend to establish a geomatics consulting firm. "Wherever in this life your compass shall point, do not be afraid to follow in whichever direction it may lead."

Davis Gosse
Annapolis Valley Campus
Davis Gosse

Davis was looking for a post-secondary education that provided a practical, hands-on learning experience and found the perfect fit in the Energy Sustainability Engineering Technology program.

While in his program, he enjoyed the sense of community that stemmed from the relationships he built with his peers, faculty and staff. As president of the Student Association, he has developed an appreciation for the student learning experience and gained important inter-personal skills.

Davis looks forward to establishing a sustainable career in Nova Scotia.

To his fellow classmates he says, "Do not limit yourself to anything. There are many people who can learn what you do, so learn what they won't. You learn more from failure than you do from success."

Ashley Carty
Burridge Campus
Ashley Carty

Inspired by the success of friends and family who have attended NSCC, Ashley decided to enrol in the Cosmetology program at Burridge Campus. There, she embraced many learning opportunities and has made lasting friendships.

Through her education and the support of her friends, family and faculty, she is confident in pursuing her goals after graduation. Ashley's advice to the Class of 2017: "Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded there!"

Alexander Martin
Cumberland Campus
Alexander Martin

Alexander wanted an education that provided hands-on learning specific to the career he was seeking, so he enrolled in the Utility Line Work – Construction & Maintenance program at Cumberland Campus. Through his education, he now feels confident to pursue a career in the field. He has developed a respect for the trade and feels prepared in safety training.

Alexander looks forward to securing employment as a utility line worker and securing his Red Seal certification.

He wishes career success for his fellow graduates. "You chose your program because you thought it was something you would love to do. I am sure, if we all stick with it, we will attain the jobs we want and turn them into the careers we want. Don't forget to have fun, and stay safe."

Victoria Weir
Institute of Technology Campus
Victoria Weir

Before she came to NSCC, Victoria worked as a recruiter for companies and was impressed with those who had studied at the College. After attending an Open House, she knew she wanted to study in the Medical Office Administration Program. She has enjoyed the hands-on learning approach and has thrived in a team-oriented learning environment. She says the diversity of her class has helped her broaden her perspective on the world and has allowed her compassion for others to grow.

Victoria is eager to start work in her new field and plans to complete her Bachelor of Arts in the future. She encourages her fellow graduates to continue to learn.

To her fellow graduates she says, "We can take with us the skills, memories and friendships we have made at NSCC. Take the time to reflect and celebrate all your accomplishments. Your hard work and dedication has allowed you to achieve your goals."

Brittany Curran
Kingstec Campus
Brittany Curran

Britt was drawn to the Baking & Pastry Art program at Kingstec Campus after looking for an intimate, hands-on learning environment in which to continue her education. In her words, the experience has been eye opening, challenging, creative and cathartic – and she's cracked more eggs in seven months than she had in 32 years.

Britt is working with the pastry staff at Keltic Lodge in Cape Breton and would like to, someday, complete her Red Seal certification. Combining her passions for dessert and writing, she hopes to pursue a career in food journalism.

Britt encourages the Class of 2017 to keep up their momentum to strive for success after graduation.

"You did this. You applied, showed up, finished orientation, attended classes and wrote exams. You were able to tread water despite the continuing flurry of tests, projects and presentations. Think about what kept you going. Something did - because you're here. You've persevered and it's a really special accomplishment."

Wayne Colson
Kingstec Campus
Wayne Colson

Growing up with six brothers and six sisters, Wayne struggled with financial resources and a direction in which to continue his education after completing high school. Although he was initially hesitant about returning to school as a mature student, support from his friends, family, staff and faculty helped him thrive in the Social Services program at Kingstec.

Wayne has gained confidence in his ability to tackle challenges and has grown an appreciation for community organizations and the importance of advocacy work in the social services sector. He recently enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts Community Studies/Bachelor of Business Administration program at Cape Breton University where he will continue his studies in the social services sector. He is dedicated to helping and supporting people in need in his community.

To the Class of 2017 Wayne says, "When life gets in the way, never forget your dreams of furthering your education. With an education, changes take place within you that allow your dreams to become reality."

Justin Jamieson
Kingstec Campus
Justin Jamieson

Justin knew he wanted to take a hands-on approach to learning. After participating in a Test Drive at Kingstec Campus, he decided the Electronic Engineering Technician program was exactly what he wanted to pursue. He enjoyed engaging with the campus community as president of the Student Association and was happy to take advantage of the many learning opportunities.

Justin looks forward to securing a job in his field, accomplishing his goals, and giving back to his community.

To his fellow graduates Justin says, "Take the lessons and the community you have found at NSCC and carry them with you for the rest of your life."

Tyler Surette
Lunenburg Campus
Tyler Surette

Having spent many hours in his grandfather's shop as a child in Yarmouth, Tyler dreamed of becoming a diesel mechanic. He enrolled in the Diesel Repair – Industrial & Marine program knowing he could continue to work in a shop environment and pursue a career in mechanics. Through his studies, Tyler gained practical experience and has learned to seize opportunities that come his way.

After graduating, he hopes to settle in Nova Scotia's South Shore region and sustain a career in his field locally.

To his fellow graduates Tyler says, "Never be afraid to take risks and step outside of your bubble. So many amazing opportunities are lost because people are afraid to jump. Our life on this earth is a very short one and opportunities are there waiting for every single one of us. Do whatever makes you happy and never settle for less."

Denise Sonmor
Marconi Campus
Denise Sonmor

Denise was inspired to enrol in the Continuing Care program at Marconi Campus after witnessing the success of family members who had attended NSCC. As a mature student, she was unsure about returning to school – but she was determined to succeed. She developed skills in self-discipline and time management, and has learned to face challenges with confidence.

Denise hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by using the skills she developed during her time at NSCC.

Her message to the Class of 2017: "Embrace life by not being afraid of making mistakes. Use your education to become better individuals and use your gifts and talents to make a difference. Never stop learning about yourself or others."

Kaela Ramsay
Marconi Campus
Kaela Ramsay

Seeking an education that promoted applied skills learning and industry experience, Kaela enrolled in the Social Services program at Marconi Campus. Last year, she completed two service learning projects –including one international project – and has gained practical experience through two work terms. Kaela has learned how to prioritize tasks and maintain the motivation to see them through to completion. She now feels prepared and confident to work in the social services field.

She looks forward to gaining further experience in the social services sector and hopes to continue her education by completing a Bachelor in Social Work.

To her fellow graduates Kaela says: "Congratulations to the NSCC Marconi Campus Class of 2017! You deserve every success that comes your way. I hope NSCC has given you the same learning experience as it has given me."

Jacob Prest
Pictou Campus
Jacob Prest

Pursuing his ambitions to become a carpenter and start his own business in residential construction, Jacob excelled in the Carpentry program at Pictou Campus. He thrived in the programs' collaborative approach and is grateful for the support of his instructors. Jacob enjoyed the hands-on learning experience and says he has finally found his niche in carpentry.

After graduation, he plans to work toward securing his Red Seal certification and hopes, one day, to return to the College as an instructor.

Jacob's message to the Class of 2017: "No matter what challenges life throws at you, you will overcome them. We all came here because we share an ambition to learn and succeed. That ambition will carry us through the rest of our lives – hold it close. Never forget how far you’ve come, and know there is no limit to how far you can go. You can do it."

Spencer Martin
Shelburne Campus
Spencer Martin

Spencer was happy to stay close to home in rural Nova Scotia while pursuing his interests in the Oceans Resources – Fisheries & Aquaculture program at Shelburne Campus. There, he enjoyed opportunities to expand his skill set through hands-on learning, and apply those skills in practical settings. Spencer says he has gained knowledge in ocean industries and resources and has confidence in pursuing a career in that sector.

Spencer's goal after graduation is to continue to gain experience and, one day, become a fisheries officer.

His message to the Class of 2017: "Keep applying yourself as you have done at NSCC. Never stop growing and learning. Congratulations to everyone!"

Meghan Newell
Strait Area Campus
Meghan Newell

Meghan's desire to help others and to learn in an inclusive and creative community environment led her to study Behavioral Interventions at Strait Area Campus. In that program, she has learned how to help those from many different backgrounds and abilities. In the Campus community, she enjoyed a sense of belonging, met many new people, and gained the confidence to go beyond her comfort-zone.

After graduation, Meghan is open to the many opportunities that await her. She hopes to continue to help individuals with disabilities and further her education.

To the Class of 2017 Meghan says, "Hard work pays off, and so will kindness. Good luck in all of your future dreams and endeavors!"

Emma Smit-Geraghty
Truro Campus
Emma Smit-Geraghty

Shortly after getting married, both Emma and her husband decided they wanted to go back to school and live closer to family, so they packed up their lives in Toronto and headed to Nova Scotia. Emma then enrolled in the Medical Office Administration (MOA) program at Truro Campus. With a background in performing arts, Emma was unsure how she would fit in an office setting, but during her time in the MOA program, she discovered that her background does not limit her.

Emma looks forward to helping people in her new career. She sees it as a way to pay forward the help she has received throughout her journey.

Emma's message to the Class of 2017: "Where you come from does not define who you are or where you can go. As in most things, the first step is the hardest and you've proven you're courageous enough to take it."

Chantal Cass
Waterfront Campus
Chantal Cass

Chantal wanted to stay in Nova Scotia and pursue a career that met current market needs. After some research and deliberation, she enrolled in the Business Administration program at Waterfront Campus. During her time at NSCC, she learned about the business industry, entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and more. While building her professional network, she has become more involved in the community and has grown more confident in her skills and abilities.

Chantal looks forward to the many opportunities that await her after graduation, including a new job in project management in June. She has ambitions to explore business development opportunities and eventually launch her own business.

To the Class of 2017 Chantal says, "You are the master of your future. You have the power to affect positive change in your life, your community, and in the world. Be strong, but be kind and make a real difference."

Angela Penton
Waterfront Campus
Angela Penton

Angela decided to start a new career in technology after working as an artist and landscaper for 20 years. Through the Industrial Engineering Technology program at Waterfront Campus, she has gained leadership and communication skills. Through her campus community, she has learned even more about diversity, abilities and cultural perspectives.

After graduating, Angela hopes to secure work in the Halifax region that will allow her to make a sustainable difference in her community and provide for her family.

Angela's message to the graduating class: "We may face challenges entering a precarious and competitive job market, but we can be assured that we have invested in relevant programs that reflect up-to-date ideas and technologies. We can trust that we are leaving NSCC as better communicators, thinkers and leaders. With creativity and tenacity, NSCC graduates will have an excellent chance of success."

Andrea Thomas
Waterfront Campus
Andrea Thomas

Andrea wanted to pursue a profession that aligned with her passion for supporting children and youth. By enrolling in the Child & Youth Care program at NSCC Waterfront Campus, she took that important first step toward her goal. During her time at school, Andrea participated in conferences and workshops and enjoyed many volunteer opportunities that helped her improve her leadership skills and confidence in her ability to help others. Resilient and determined, Andrea is the first person in her family to complete a post-secondary education.

After graduation, Andrea hopes to make positive change and have a career as an advocate for youth.

Andrea's message to the Class of 2017: "Don't be afraid to be afraid. Without pushing ourselves, we will have a harder time experiencing growth. Believe in yourself and push forward, even when times get tough!"

Was this page helpful?
Your feedback will help improve this website