In front of family and friends 20 people attended their Academy of Learning Career and Business College graduation ceremony Saturday at the Gibraltar Room in Williams Lake.
Looking out into the audience, co-owner of the college Dr. Steve Whiteside, who was the master of ceremonies, said he sees a bigger guest to grad ratio in Williams Lake than anywhere else.
“I’m the owner of the campuses in Vancouver and Surrey and have been attending graduations for 30 years,” Whiteside said.
Campus director Christa Smith congratulated the students for their hard work, saying the decision to go back to school can sometimes be a hard one.
“It is a lot of work and a lot of commitment and it takes from your family and friends,” Smith said.
“Knowledge is power and opens up opportunities and I want to encourage you guys to be ambassadors for education.”
Whiteside praised Smith saying she’s also taking university courses in the evenings and has taken almost every course the college offers.
“We’re all life-time learners and you’ve learned now there’s no right time or wrong time, it’s always a good time to learn,” Whiteside said.
Acting Mayor and City Coun. Sue Zacharias brought greetings and best wishes on behalf the city.
“Graduation is a milestone and an incredible accomplishment mainly because it’s a lot of hard work and commitment and having faith and endurance to get through the times of learning,” Zacharias said.
Williams Lake Indian Band, Coun. Heather McKenzie encouraged the students to continue learning and embrace change.
“I want to honour and recognize one of our very own. Roxanne Stobie, a member of the WLIB, you have set the bar high for many,” she said, noting Stobie worked full-time for the band, fulfilled her family and community commitments, and achieved the accounting and business technology diploma program studying in the evenings on weekends.
Elisha Watson graduated from the medical office assistant with a health unit clerk co-ordinator specialization diploma, achieving more than 90 per cent average in her courses and was chosen to address the other students and guests.
“We did it, it feels amazing,” Watson said. “It turns out I really have a brain for medical terminology, and anatomy and physical terminology. I never enjoyed learning something so much.”
Going back to school was one of the best decisions she has made in her life, Watson added.
“I am much more confident, I have learned good work ethic, and rediscovered the smarty pants person I had hidden.”
Christa Smith and her husband Craig opened the academy in 2014. This was the school’s second grad.