News Archives: Convocation Ceremony at GPRC Fairview Campus
Saturday, March 9th, 2019
Melissa Zizek, Animal Health Technology diploma graduate, was this year's 2019 Valedictorian.
FAIRVIEW – Grande Prairie Regional College (GPRC) honoured the achievements of the latest graduates at Fairview campus this weekend in the Fred Speckeen Theatre. The total graduating class is approximately 336 students for the 2018-2019 academic year.
This year’s Valedictorian was Animal Health Technology diploma graduate, Melissa Zizek. Zizek, who has completed her GPRC credentials with academic excellence, was honoured to represent her fellow classmates.
A military spouse and mother of two, Zizek found love for her future career while living in Yellowknife and taking a much-needed break from her previous health care aid career.
“I applied for a job at the SPCA [in Yellowknife] because I needed a change from human medicine but still loved the medical field,” said Zizek. “I wasn’t long in the position before I realized this was my passion and I knew this was exactly where I needed to be.”
After much encouragement from family and friends, Zizek took the leap of faith and decided to apply for the Animal Health Technology program at GPRC. At the same time, her husband, Chris was released from the military and the family embarked on an exciting opportunity to transfer to Vancouver Island and look after their two boys.
“GPRC was the closest school offering the program that I wanted with the close-knitted atmosphere I needed.”
Zizek and her family have made many sacrifices over the last couple years. She acknowledges many of her classmates have faced and continue to face many of their own challenges. “The people I’ve met while attending GPRC are from all walks of life. Individuals who have gone through enormous sacrifices to be here. Their stories have shaped my own appreciation for the hardships and triumphs that occur in life and what it takes to get here today.”
“College is so much more than a place to kick-start your career,” said Zizek. “It’s a place to learn about life, about who you are at your core and to build life-long relationships.”
Zizek, who often felt like a mother-figure in her cohort, left her fellow graduates with the following ‘motherly’ advice: “Class of 2019, we’re not done here. Go capture your dreams. Love hard, live freely and most importantly, take what you’ve learned here and continue to light up the world.”
Graduating students, family members and honorary guests in attendance of convocation were invited to a President’s Tea after the ceremonies in GPRC Fairview’s Atrium.
GPRC President and CEO Don Gnatiuk addressed the graduating class in what will likely be his last GPRC Fairview Convocation as he has announced plans to retire early next year.
“It has been an absolute honour getting to be here today with you, as well as with all the students who have crossed this very stage during my 12 years,” said Gnatiuk. “Getting to celebrate your accomplishments is what it is all about for all of us at GPRC. And, while today is a significant day, what is even more important is what I know you will do with your GPRC education tomorrow, and the day after, and in the weeks, months and years to come. We know each and every one of you are a vital part of a better future for all of us.”
Check out the GPRC Fairview Convocation photo album here.