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UCN graduating classes is ready to “go move mountains”


With a hint of burning sweet grass wavering through the air, the Roy H. Johnston Arena was home to the first of the four major graduations ceremonies that will be held in the coming days as another school year wraps up and hundreds of graduates cross the stage, symbolically crossing the line between student and career at the same time.
This graduation was for University College of the North students, with 323 graduates earning a degree, certificate or diploma from the post-secondary institute.
As a number of different dignitaries pointed out, the graduation wasn’t only about the individual student or even the graduation class as a whole, but rather also about the future of the north.
“Your success is our success,” said Elder Martha Jonasson of UCN’s Council of Elders.
“You will be the means, the resource, the catalyst to recognize economic revitalization in the north,” said outgoing President and Vice-Chancellor Konrad Jonasson, who was presiding over his final graduation with the university.
As has become a custom of UCN, the graduation ceremony was a more relaxed, almost family-like atmosphere, with more than a few students celebrating on stage as they received their certificate or diploma, while family and friends hollered in celebration as they crossed the stage.
Valedictorian Erin Berscheid addressed the crowd prior to the awarding of diplomas, certificates and degrees and reflected on her journey from being a nervous first day student at UCN to confidently striding into her new life that lies ahead.
“When I decided to go back to school I was nervous. I was only a few years out of university and did not know if I wanted to endure more stress; my fellow graduates understand the stress I’m talking about,” recalled Berscheid. “After some heavy thinking I decided in the long run it would pay off, I would be able to do something I always wanted to do in my life which is teaching.”
Berscheid then recanted times of helpful professors, a strong bond with her fellow students and the determination to persevere though struggles, such as late night study sessions, to get to this day. It was a worthwhile endeavour.
“I hope everyone can take a minute to think of one professor that has helped your education journey and be sure to thank them,” said Berscheid.
“You deserve a day of celebration for all your accomplishments, you have all worked very hard to get to this day and without your dedication this would have never occurred. Always keep learning,” she added.
Berscheid then concluded her speech with a quote for Dr. Seuss.
“You’re off to great places, today is your day, your mountain is waiting so get on your way,” said Berscheid. “Congratulations again and let’s go move mountains.”
Berscheid proved to be a steady visitor to the stage. Not only was she named the class valedictorian, Berscheid also earned the Lieutenant-Governor Gold Medal for university programs, maintaining a 4.43 GPA in doing so.
Caresse See Mun Ng claimed the Lieutenant-Governor silver medal for college program, earning a 4.38 GPA in the dental assisting program.
It was a final hurrah for the program, which was announced earlier this year that it would be the final year for the dental assisting program at UCN, capping a run of over four decades at the school.

Trent Allen