SPRINGHILL – A day of celebration in Springhill.
“Nervous…scared I might trip and fall on the stage,” said Sarah Sperry, who will be receiving her diploma in early childhood education just before lunch.
Convocation is being held today at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre for 180 Nova Scotia Community College students. Sperry and some of her fellow graduates gathered at the campus yesterday for a run-through of today’s event.
Sperry is a mother of a three-year old. She said the program was flexible and it’s impacted how she parents.
“Yes, actually, I’ve learned a lot from the course.”
Sperry will be receiving the Governor-General’s Academic Medal, something she was unaware of when interviewed.
Kara Sprague knows she’s the valedictorian, of course.
“This is the biggest crowd I’ve ever spoken in front of,” she said.
Not that public speaking is alien to the carpentry grad. She’s served as the student association president.
Sprague will have lots of family and friends at the ceremony, and a sister will be graduating from the adult learning program at the same time.
Before embarking on her carpentry diploma, the largest thing the 25-year-old had ever made was a shelf. There are no carpenters in her family. But she said attending NSCC was the first time she’d been excited to go to school every day. After working under another carpenter and getting her red seal professional designation, she wants to start her own company.
“I really like renovations,” she said.
The college focuses on teaching skills employers want, said Deirdre Kelba, who teaches in the adult learning program. And while the economy may be slow and the financial news from overseas dour, she doesn’t think it’s dampening the enthusiasm of the new grads.
“I think they’re very optimistic,” she said.
Entrepreneurship is one of the things they encourage, according to Kelba.
“We have a lot of local grads,” she said, who want to stay in the region.
“We’re providing the next generation of workers.”
The convocation begins at 11 a.m., although graduates had to report in around 9 a.m. A reception will follow the event, which will be attended by NSCC President Don Bureaux. A business faculty member, Louise VanThielen, will be retiring.
Julian Manzer is another carpentry grad. The Amherstonian is 20. He hasn’t found work locally, so he’s got his sights set on Halifax.
“It feels pretty good,” he said about graduating.
“Went by pretty quick.”