Jan 10, 2011


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Shannon van Leenen

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BVC commemorates hundreds of success stories at Winter 2011 graduation

CALGARY - More than 300 work-ready graduands, each with their own unique story of courage and commitment, will cross the stage on January 11 at Bow Valley College’s (BVC) Winter 2011 graduation ceremony.

Business Valedictorian Charmaine Somerton’s story started in 2000 when she came to Canada from the UK with her two children and a Business Administration Diploma. She worked in the finance and credit industry for nine years before being laid off due to the recession.

Somerton recognized this as an opportunity to retrain for a new career closer to her heart that would complement her existing post-secondary education. In 2010, she took the first step towards a new career and enrolled in BVC’s Hospital Unit Clerk Certificate program.

Joining Somerton are valedictorians Jennifer K. McAleer, Health and Community Care, and Jody Lynne Mohammed, Academic Foundations (biographies attached).

The first-ever class of Veterinary Office Assistant Certificate students, alongside students from the College’s business, health care, human services and academic foundations departments, will graduate and become members of BVC’s family of Alumni.

Award-winning author and University of Calgary Professor Aritha van Herk will deliver the keynote address. Sharon Carry, Bow Valley College President and CEO, and Joanne Stalinski, Chair of BVC’s Board of Governors, will also address the graduates.

Event: Bow Valley College Winter 2011 Graduation Ceremony 
Date: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (doors open at 1:00 p.m.) 
Location: EPCOR Centre for the Performing Arts, Jack Singer Concert Hall 205 – 8 Avenue SE

Media are invited to attend BVC’s graduation ceremony. Photo opportunities and interviews can be arranged.

Bow Valley College – Calgary and region’s One and Only Comprehensive Community College – with more than 11,000 full- and part-time students, is a leader in health and business career training, adult upgrading, and English as a Second Language. BVC’s Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES), workplace training for immigrant professionals, and employment services provide a wide range of services for business and professionals. Established in 1965, Bow Valley College is in the midst of a multi-million dollar expansion, creating state-of-the-art facilities and doubling its student capacity by the year 2013.

Valedictorian Biographies

Charmaine Somerton - Hospital Unit Clerk Certificate
Charmaine worked in the areas of finance and credit for more than nine years before she was laid off during the recent economic recession. After re-evaluating her goals, she decided to enroll in Bow Valley College’s Hospital Unit Clerk program. “I wanted to find a job that would be reward for myself and allow me to help others,” she says. “The Hospital Unit Clerk program fits my requirements completely.

Charmaine was a little concerned about returning to school after so many years, but Bow Valley College’s staff and students were both friendly and welcoming. “The instructors have done a great job in making the courses interesting and enjoyable. It has been a very positive experience.” She aspires to be an exceptional Hospital Unit Clerk and hopes one day she can mentor a student Unit Clerk from Bow Valley College.

Jody Lynne Mohammed - Academic Upgrading
Jody heard about Bow Valley College from a friend and began taking High School Upgrading in 2002. She always wanted an education but says she had very little opportunity to pursue her dream. Eventually the College became her second home. “I felt like I was part of an extended family; my teachers and classmates became part of my everyday life. I looked forward to going to school each and every day, knowing that I was bettering myself.”

Jody’s long-term goal is to obtain a Bachelor of Nursing degree. “I’ve known since I was a teenager that I wanted to be part of a hospital environment, caring for the physically ill and injured. It’s my passion, and I will not give up until I have fulfilled it.”

Jennifer K. McAleer - Practical Nurse Diploma
Choosing the Practical Nurse Diploma program at Bow Valley College was an easy decision for Jennifer because it offered both hands-on experience and instruction in nursing theory. Jennifer excelled with the opportunity to apply and adapt learned theory to everyday experiences during clinical placements each semester. She felt reassured that she had chosen the right career path.

“The day I received my acceptance letter to Bow Valley College I knew my life was about to change, but I never imagined how profoundly my new personal and technical skills would change me,” Jennifer says. “I have found my true calling and aspire to practice my profession with energy, compassion, and life-long education. The broad resources, friendships and experienced faculty at Bow Valley College gave me the confidence and support for success.”

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