Last night was a time to reflect on accomplishments and the future for the new graduating class of 2023 from Great Plains College.
The Living Sky Casino was packed, as 158 students, friends, and family loaded into the event centre. There, they watched on as the students were handed the culmination of all their efforts in education.
Brad Mahon was happy to be there not only as President and CEO of the Great Plains College but also as an educator.
"The heart of the show is celebrating the students," said Mahon. "They are going to come across the stage; we'll pass them their parchment, and we'll shake hands if they choose to."
Handing these young adults their degrees is a significant moment as they take the next big step forwards in their lives.
Also in the proceedings were official representatives from the Ministry of Education and local Swift Current MLA Everett Hindley. Perhaps the most meaningful words shared with these graduates were those passed on from the faculty, who watched as they learned and grew into who they are today.
"They're not the same people they were when they first came through that door," said Mahon. "Education can be transformational."
Dressed in caps and gowns, these students were made up of two Great Plains campuses. There were those from the Swift Current campus and those who had come in from the Maple Creek campus for the big night.
"We've got six campuses, and so we have three graduations," explained Mahon. "We've got Warman and Martensville next week, and then the week after, we've got to Kindersley and Biggar together."
Mahon was reflective on how this night isn't just the culmination of the student's efforts but also of the faculty who do this every year for many different classes and individuals.
"For me, graduation is a great reminder of why we do what we do," said Mahon. "Which is the students and guiding them towards that goal. I'm going to say to them tonight that they 'did it'. For many of these students, their path after graduation will likely be out into the workforce. For others, they'll go on, perhaps to more education, but either way, we're going to celebrate this growth and this journey with them,"
Many photos were taken, many dresses worn, and many tears of joy shed as the former students celebrated with their closest family and friends.
Congratulations to the graduates, and may the best of luck come to them in all their future endeavours.