NorQuest College celebrates Indigenous students and culture

NorQuest College celebrated the achievements of its Indigenous students on May 16, 2019. Pictured above: current NorQuest Indigenous grads and the next generation of Indigenous leaders.

(Edmonton) – On May 16, NorQuest College hosted its annual Indigenous Achievement Ceremony, a dynamic celebration of Indigenous students and Indigenous culture. The event brought together students, their families, and special guests for an energetic celebration.

“I’m very proud of all of our Indigenous students who completed their programs here at NorQuest,” stated Conor Kerr, NorQuest College Manager, Indigenous Relations and Supports.

“Just hearing the students talk of their hope and promise of a better future and overcoming adversity as Indigenous peoples, now graduates, inspires myself and our team in the Indigenous Student Centre.

“These graduates are our future leaders and we want to make sure that we celebrate them and all their accomplishments with an event like the Indigenous Achievement Ceremony.”

“The Indigenous Achievement Ceremony is a reminder that my educational achievement is an important aspect to my long term goals,” added Camillia Sokwaypnace, Social Work Diploma student.

“The ceremony incorporated Indigenous culture which made the event welcoming and accepting as an Indigenous person striving in these colonial-based educational systems. As a student, attending this event has brought me pride and a reminder that I am not alone on this journey.

“After this term I plan on continuing my education in the Bachelors of Social Work at McEwan University. Essentially, my long term goal is to work front line in Children Services as an advocate.”

Earlier this month, as part of their 2019 Awards of Excellence, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) awarded NorQuest College the Gold Standard in the category of Indigenous Education Excellence.

In 2017, NorQuest College became Edmonton’s first signatory to the Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) Indigenous Education Protocol. This was the culmination of College-wide efforts to better serve Indigenous learners and support educational and economic development in their communities. The College’s Indigenization Strategy, Wahkohtowin, is a living document guiding its holistic approach to reconciliation and decolonization. NorQuest’s commitment as an Indigenous community hub is embodied in its Indigenous Student Centre; overseen by Indigenous staff and featuring the welcoming presence of two resident Elders. 

 Parkland College and Algonquin College were respectively awarded the Silver and Bronze Honours in the category of Indigenous Education Excellence.

The CICan Awards of Excellence recognize best practices from institutions across the country, as well as individual leadership and achievements. The awards were distributed on May 6, in partnership with TD Insurance, the exclusive sponsor of CICan’s Awards of Excellence. 

“Colleges and institutes are so successful thanks to passionate staff, teachers, researchers and administrators who work tirelessly to provide students with the skills and experience they need to succeed”, said Denise Amyot, President and CEO of CICan. “Every year, the CICan Awards of Excellence recognize these dedicated people who go above and beyond to make Canada’s post-secondary education the best in the world.” 

Check out this great video that describes how NorQuest is a leader in Indigenous education. 

About NorQuest College: NorQuest College is Edmonton’s community college serving 18,381 students annually throughout the province with full-time, part-time, online, and face-to-face learning options. NorQuest helps learners with diverse educational backgrounds complete or further their studies through foundational programs.  

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