A new crop of graduates
Aurora College students enter a new world

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 29/00) - Ninety-nine seems to be the lucky number for Aurora College graduates this year.

That is the total number of students who donned a cap and gown for all three NWT Aurora college campuses for the 1999/2000 school year.

Graduation ceremonies have been held at Fort Smith, Yellowknife and Inuvik campuses since mid-April.

A total of 38 students officially graduated April 15 from Fort Smith's Thebacha campus. Twenty-four graduates were handed diplomas at the Yellowknife campus on May 6, and 37 grads stepped up to the podium at the Inuvik campus.

Brenda Gauthier, director of student services at Thebacha Campus, said while enrolment was about the same as last year, the number of grads was down "quite a bit."

Gauthier said the reason for the decrease was because the campus began using an alternate intake system.

"What we mean by alternate intake is this year we ran first-year programs and no second-year programs," said Gauthier.

"The next year we'll be offering the second year and not the first."

Sandra Lockhart, president of the Aurora College Student Association in Yellowknife, talked about the importance of students receiving their education in the North at the May 6 ceremony.

"The whole time during the last election, we were establishing ourselves as the NWT's immediate human resource, in contrast to merely being seen as the NWT's 'starving students,'" Lockhart said.

"...It's not the diamonds, it's not the oil, it's the people that make the North so valuable."

Floyd Roland, keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony in Inuvik, graduated from the mechanics program in 1981. He talked about being inspired by one of his instructors.

"My instructor told me, 'that certificate will get you the job -- it's up to you to keep it.'" Roland said.

"The door is open to you all, but it's up to you to keep it open."