Assiniboine Community College (ACC) held its graduation ceremonies on the last week of October. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the learning institution set a record of having 1,514 graduates — the most in its history – who completed their studies for the 2019-20 academic year.
Ceremonies were held in two locations. The venue for graduates from the Brandon campus was at the Keystone Centre on October 27 and 28, while those from the Parkland Campus in Dauphin had the Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium as their venue on October 30.
Complying with public health guidelines, all attendees were required to wear masks and practice physical distancing. This year’s ceremony can be described as a ‘walk-through’ format. Ushers guided attendees as they followed a path bordered on either side by guide rails. Along this path, graduates picked up their gown, cap and tassel; and waited for their name to be announced by the graduate announcer to receive their scroll from college leadership. Areas with ACC backdrops were set up along the pathway for taking photos. Near the exit is a station where the gowns were dropped off.
Among the graduates is Fides Mari Yparraguirre who earned her Practical Nursing diploma with distinction. Yparraguirre, who is now a mother of two, moved to Brandon with her husband Rolin after initially settling in Steinbach coming from the Philippines. “In 2018, we decided to re-locate here because it takes less time to enroll in a nursing program. I learned that enrolling for a similar program in Winnipeg could take me years on the wait list,“ she explained. According to Yparraguirre, she is the first in their migrant family to graduate in Canada, so the occasion was especially significant.
ACC is well-known for its Practical Nursing program, especially among Filipino newcomers who have a nursing background and would like to practice their profession in the province. Danielle Adriaansen, acting VP for International, agrees with that observed trend and also shared about the college’s growth target. “We have a goal to grow our graduation numbers to 2,028 graduates by 2028. That’s actually in our strategic plan.
We’re well on our way to that growth with this year’s graduation number.”
In his message as ACC president, Mark Frison congratulated this year’s graduates as he took into account the difficulties they encountered in this year of the pandemic.
“Getting to this moment took determination, focus and hard work to overcome never before experienced obstacles…We are extremely proud of how our graduates continue to excel in their selected fields and accomplish their goals in changing environments, a skill which will serve them well in their new careers.”