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Friends found at NSCC in Springhill


AMHERST – Small gestures can go a long way to help a person feel welcome.

“No matter how small the gesture, it made you feel you were valued, that you were part of the community, that you were part of the school’s community,” said Kristine MacDonald, the valedictorian at the 2018 Nova Scotia Community College graduation ceremony Friday morning at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill.

MacDonald is from Cape Breton but lived in Toronto before enrolling in the Early Childhood Education course in Springhill.

“While I’m originally from Nova Scotia, I most recently lived in Toronto. There, you are only personable and kind to your friends; for safety purposes,” said MacDonald.

She talked about the morning greetings from campus staff and, also, from the toddlers in the early childhood learning centre waving as they made their way to the playground.

“When you move to a new community there is always a concern you won’t find your place, especially in a small, tightknit community. There’s worry that you won’t fit in and you’ll be an outsider,” said MacDonald. “Perhaps your class will be filled with people who grew up together and have already formed a friendship, one which you cannot be accommodated in.”

She thanked Wendy Siddall, her instructor, for helping make the transition to Springhill more comfortable.

“She knew I was moving from several provinces over, and she wanted to make sure that I knew at least one person in town, and, if not, that she was that one person,” said MacDonald. “She did not want me to feel as though I was coming into a community of strangers, and I don’t think I ever properly thanked her enough for that. So, thank you Wendy. I truly appreciate that.”

The Early Childhood Education course encourages students to teach children about compassion, understanding, empathy and kindness, the kinds of attributes that can help prepare them for a world sometimes filled with noise, negativity, anger, and fear.

“These most basic skills are those that we often forget in the world today. It only takes seconds to be kind and could be as simple as saying ‘good morning’ to someone as you pass by,” said MacDonald. “That is what I hope everyone walks away with from their experience at NSCC.”

MacDonald finished by talking about how ‘Your Deeds are Your Monuments’ and asked the graduates deeds to be comforting, nurturing and compassionate.

“We are going to spread far and wide and will be able to impact our province in such a positive manner,” said MacDonald. “So be kind, be a friend. It’ll change how others around you behave and it’ll slowly change our world.”

The Major Award recipients at the NSCC graduation are as follows:

Governor General’s Academic Medal – Frankie Rae Quinn (Early Childhood Education)

Nova Scotia Community College Gold Medal – Michael Moore (Electrical – Construction and Industrial)

Board Governor’s Award – Liandra Fahey (Social Services)

President’s Award – Tabitha Poplar-Mills (Continuing Care)

NSCC Alumni Rising Star Award – Frankie Rae Quinn (Early Childhood Education)

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