Perseverance results in diploma for AETC grads
By Sue Tiffin
Published July 6, 2017
A close-knit group of students and staff joined together to celebrate the reward for dedication while overcoming obstacles: a Grade 12 diploma.
Sixteen students graduated from the Alternate Education and Training Centre (AETC) and celebrated at a graduation ceremony steeped in support and optimism held at McKecks on June 28.
“You don’t have to be told about perseverance and hard work,” said Gary Brohman, school trustee. “You did it, you lived it, good job.”
The students completed the courses required for them to earn a diploma while at the same time working in the community, running their own business, coping with loss or raising a family.
“It takes a special kind of courage to come back and say, I really need to upgrade, to do better,” said Lori Sargent, teacher and AETC administrative head. “It’s quite a challenge and feat to be able to do that.”
Family and friends clapped and cheered with pride as each student’s name was called.
“I don’t want to leave,” said valedictorian Damara Scott, who had been studying at the school for five years and was credited for her creative talent in art and music. Scott said she felt safe and not judged at the school. Though she felt she didn’t always have the confidence she needed, the encouragement and support of her teachers guided her.
“You taught me to believe in myself no matter how many times I was knocked down,” she said. “Some of us might not want to leave, but I know we’re ready to. Thank you, teachers, for standing behind us and believing in us when we couldn’t believe in ourselves.”
Scott was also the recipient of the principal’s award and was described as being a “light in our school” by Sargent.
Other award winners were Tyler Baux (music award), Ryan Hannah (trades and apprenticeship award), Ashley Scolin (continuing education award), Josie Paterson (academic award), Ben Wilbee (entrepreneurial spirit award), Lucas Packard (co-op education award), Justin Dorrington-Irvine (R.E.A.L. award) and Jessica Neshkawa (Joshua Rewa award).