By KELLEN TANIGUCHI on June 8, 2021.
For the second year in a row, Medicine Hat College will be celebrating its graduating class virtually with convocation 2021 events taking place throughout the week on MHC’s social media and website.
“The Class of 2021 deserves a standing ovation,” says Kevin Shufflebotham, president and CEO of MHC in a news release. “Despite the uncertainty of the past year, they chose to start or continue their education last fall and persevered through the many challenges to follow.
“Learning online, balancing work and life, dealing with the pandemic – they have faced so much and still were able to see their education through to the finish line. We couldn’t be more proud of our students than we are today.”
The college also announced its 2021 award winners – Andrea King, clinical instructor in the college’s Health Care Aide program was named instructor of the year, and Amanda Schill was awarded the Governor General’s Academic Medal for having the highest overall average upon graduation.
Gerry Labas was recognized with the Honorary Applied Baccalaureate Degree and Amber Kornelson was named student of the year.
“It was very surreal, and I just felt honoured. I was a little speechless, honestly, when I got the news because I’m sure there were other people nominated as well. I was just really, really excited and honoured they decided to pick me this year,” said Kornelson.
Kornelson is graduating from the Mount Royal University collaborative Bachelor of Education program at MHC and she’s already been teaching as a support teacher with the Medicine Hat Public School Division. She says her goal is to teach at the elementary or middle school grade level in Medicine Hat in the fall.
Uncertainty has surrounded large gatherings such as convocation, so Kornelson wasn’t too surprised to learn her graduation would take place online.
“This year has been so full of uncertainty anyways and I think one thing that I’ve learned is I have to really roll with things even if they’re not how I’d like them to be,” she said. “We’re not really having much of a convocation at all and that’s just kind of the nature of where we’re at with COVID, but it is really disappointing but at the same time it’s understandable that everybody’s just trying to do the best they can, and things change so rapidly that it’s hard to make plans during this time.”
Kornelson volunteered with the Enactus MHC student group at the college and was the project lead of the young entrepreneurship program since 2016. The group would go into schools and teach Grade 4-12 students about entrepreneurship and give them a hands-on opportunity to create a product idea. Kornelson says the program hooked her and reinforced she was in the right field of study.
“Convocation is the best day of the year at MHC and not being able to share this milestone with our college community in person is felt by all of us,” adds Shufflebotham. “On behalf of everyone at the college, we congratulate our graduates and award winners for what they have achieved and wish them success as their journey continues.”