Education degrees earned

by Derek Cornet

Invited guested gathered at North West College in Meadow Lake April 11 to celebrate years of hard work.

Seventeen graduates from throughout the Northwest were handed Bachelor of Education degrees after completing four years of study. The group of students represents the college’s second cohort ever and the next batch of graduates will receive degrees in 2018.

Dan Daongam of Meadow Lake was among the graduates and was also selected to address his peers. He was excited to finally earn his degree and said it’s been a long four years.

“It had its ups and downs,” Daongam said. “Some classes were better than others, but overall I enjoyed it.”

Daongam hopes to stay in Meadow Lake and find a job teaching at one of the schools. Before pursuing a post-secondary education, he was employed as a support staff worker at Jubilee Elementary School and noted he likes the setting.

Daongam was also placed in a Grade 6 classroom at Gateway Elementary School and said he enjoyed his time there.

Another graduate – Lori Allen of Meadow Lake – also noted she felt excited to have finished studies. She chose the program because it was offered in Meadow Lake and had previously taken classes to become a teacher’s aide. After job opportunities in the field dried up, Allen needed another career.

“I have a family, so I couldn’t go out and get an education,” she said. “Nowadays, you need a decent education to get anywhere. Even though teaching isn’t a huge paying job, I love working with the kids.”

Both Daongam and Allen admitted they were nervous to begin their careers. Daongam believes all first-year teachers are anxious as they find their way and Allen, too, noted the most difficult part is in the beginning.

“Leading my own classroom is the most nervous thing,” he said.

College president and CEO Tavia Laliberte noted all of the graduates hailed from the Northwest. She said the program is valuable to the college because it’s the only one available where students can study all four years in Meadow Lake.

“These are folks who are going to go on and be teachers and leaders in our communities,” Laliberte said.

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