Walking up to congratulate Geraldine Bob after her valedictorian speech, it was hard to get close enough to talk as people crowded around her.
Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson gave Bob a high-five and asked if he could take a “selfie” with her.
Another woman stood to congratulate her, telling the Tribune reporter waiting to talk to Bob how Bob was always someone who didn’t say much but took a lot in.
Despite being a person of few words, she put enough together for an inspiring valedictorian speech to pay tribute to lifelong learning and her family and community who have supported her throughout her journey.
Bob was graduating with her Master’s degree in Education, which she completed the final parts of while simultaneously taking on her new role as the Indigenous support services coordinator at Thompson Rivers University (TRU).
She began this new role at TRU Williams Lake in September.
“I love it,” said Bob of her new role as an employee of TRU, which she said was “like coming home.”
She said she was surprised when she was nominated and then voted in as valedictorian.
Bob’s valedictorian speech quoted Murray Sinclair, a retired Canadian senator who was also the first Indigenous judge appointed in Manitoba and was chair of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as many other roles.
She also quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nelson Mandela and a variety of others, including Sandra Bullock.
Bob said she wanted to include ideas and words from all over the world.
“I am here today to say how proud I am of our accomplishments,” she finished with, before calling for applause for the graduates from the audience.
When asked afterwards if she had any additional advice or parting words for her fellow graduates, Bob added:
“Be proud of who you are and where you come from.”