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Alumni Stories

Only I Can Define What I Can Do

Valedictorian Makayla Laboucan delivered the farewell statement to the class of 2018.
“When I received the letter indicating that I was chosen to be NLC’s valedictorian, I was
shocked. I called my family to let them know because this is a big deal for me,”
Laboucan exclaims.

A member of the Sucker Creek First Nation, Laboucan lives in High Prairie. She
graduated from the Social Work Diploma program in May 2018 and is focused on her
future. “I will be returning to University Studies at Northern Lakes College this winter
before I apply for my degree in Social Work at the University of Calgary for the fall of
2019. I also have plans to continue my studies after my BSW, to pursue a Criminology
degree,” she explains.

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Alumni Star in Discovery Canada's: Hellfire Heroes

Patrick McConnell and Ryan Coutts work for the Lesser Slave Lake (LSL) Regional Fire
Service, which was the “ground zero” crew for the 2011 Wildfire that tore through the
Town of Slave Lake. Both are graduates of the Emergency Medical Responder

“In the untamed wilderness of Central Alberta, where seasonal wildfires can destroy a
town in a single day, a special breed of firefighters risk their lives to serve and protect
the people who live and work here,” states the website regarding the
Hellfire Heroes series.

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Turning Your Life Around

Chris Yellowbird is from Alexander First Nation and his background story is a
recollection of trauma, abuse, and misuse. Yellowbird shares, “I have an interesting
story, because I used to be a client at the Footprints Healing Centre in Alexander First
Nation. I am about 21 months sober now [at time of writing]. After I finished there as a
client, an opportunity opened up and I asked for a job. I started as night staff. I just knew
I had to start somewhere; it was a way for me to get my foot in the door.” While working
at the healing centre, Yellowbird started looking into accredited training. He researched
his educational options and landed on the Addictions Counselling Diploma program.

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Building the Future

Teralynn Ledger works for Underhill Geomatics Ltd., a surveying company in Kamloops, British Columbia. While Ledger holds a diploma in Architectural and Engineering Technology from Thompson Rivers University, she requires formal training in surveying for her job. In early 2018, one of her supervisors recommended she consider the Introduction to Surveying program.

“The program offered by NLC was an opportunity for me to expand my knowledge of surveying and receive formal training. I was able to take the program while working full time.
Another big benefit was that I was able to take the program online and at my own pace,” Ledger comments.

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Graduate Wins Paramedic Pay It Forward Award

Kris Porlier is a graduate of the first cohort of the Advanced Care Paramedic program and the recipient of the 2018 Paramedic Pay It Forward Student Award. Created by paramedic graduates to increase the availability of scholarships, awards, and bursaries, the award is peer-nominated and awarded to those who exemplify leadership, advocacy, and unity. “I was
honoured to receive the award because it is peer nominated. It means that you have done something to stand out amongst your peers. It was a nice boost.”

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Learning Never Stops

Kevin Wharmby is a Lead Planner and Scheduler of Maintenance at Cameco
Corporation’s Port Hope Conversion Facility. Wharmby is a great believer in lifelong
learning. “I have always believed that learning never stops. Since graduating from Law
& Security Administration, and then working through apprenticeship training as a
General Machinist, I have continued to participate in continuous learning programs,” he

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Caring for Your Community

Social work is a profession concerned with enhancing collective and individual wellbeing.
The Social Work program prepares graduates to assist clients to meet the demands of daily life, improve problem-solving and coping skills, and to link them with systems that offer resources, services, and opportunities.

Selena Sliger is an alumni of the Social Work Diploma program. “Accessibility and opportunity
were the reasons why I chose to enter into the Social Work Diploma program in Peace River,” she explains. “I was able to continue working and maintain a family life while going to school.”

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Leading By Example

Graduating is a major accomplishment and there’s great joy in donning your cap and gown and receiving your
parchment. It’s a day when you look back on the challenges you’ve overcome - the late nights studying, driving through storms to get to class, and remembering the people you met along the way and the fun memories you’ve made.

For Tanis Flett, a graduate of the Social Work Diploma program in June of 2017, it is also proof
that her hard work and determination has set her up for a successful future. - Read More

An Ambassador for Success

As an energetic and enthusiastic student, Jay fit in with the class well and instantly made friends with his peers. His excitement to be part of the class was contagious! Jzomuel (Jay) Vida was a student of the Practical Nurse Program from the Grande Prairie Campus, who graduated in June of 2017.

Jay comes from a family who all work in the health sector, and he pursued nursing while he was still living in the Philippines. Jay continued his educational journey with Northern Lakes College to become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Canada. - Read More

NLC Alumni's Passion for the North

For communities like Peace River, educational opportunities can change people’s lives in very meaningful ways. In Northern Lakes College’s Social Work Diploma program, students learn to work with different cultures and learn how to recognize and deal with oppression. Graduates are active in their own communities and bring their knowledge and passion forward to help change the lives of others.

Christine Kaip, a Northern Lakes College Alumni who completed the Social Work Diploma in 2015 says, “I have been very fortunate in my career in Social Services." - Read More

Overcoming Adversity

“I probably went back to school too early, too soon after losing him,” Lindsay says “but I was all my kids had. I knew I needed a career. Not just a job.” When Lindsay Goodswimmer’s husband was suddenly killed in 2014, the young mother of three realized she’d have to make major changes to provide the kind of life she wanted to give her children.

It was important she remain in her hometown of Sturgeon Lake, a close-knit community offering support, friendship, and familiarity to the grieving family. Fortunately, Lindsay learned of the Academic Upgrading program offered at Northern Lakes College’s Valleyview campus, only a short distance from her home. - Read More

Candice Seweryn: The Courage to Grow

Leaving school at the age of seventeen to care for her first child, Candice Seweryn recalls being conflicted. She was an average student and though she felt the support of her family, a small piece of her it seems, was left behind. If not critical of her choice to leave school early, Candice was at least sensitive to her feelings of loss.
Years later and now the mother of three, Candice chose to amend her past and with her husband’s encouragement and support from family and friends, she enrolled in Academic Upgrading at Northern Lakes College. - Read More