Friday, February 14, 2014

Student stories: Douglas College valedictorians for Winter 2014

Graduation is an important milestone in a student’s life. This week, many Douglas College students took part in the Winter graduation ceremonies.

Here are the stories of some outstanding students who are celebrating graduation: the valedictorians.

Corey Forrieter
Diploma in Computing Science and Information Systems

Corey Forrieter has a reputation for being a quiet student in class, but he stood out to his instructors as a hard worker who earned exceptional marks.

“An education at Douglas has enabled me to take one step further along the path to my ultimate goal: a career in computer programming,” says Corey, who graduates this week with a Diploma in Computing Science and Information Systems.

Simon Li, a Computing Science and Information Systems instructor, pointed out Corey was interested in getting more than just good grades out of his college experience.

“Corey is a humble student who is keen to learn and always willing to help others,” Simon says.

Now Corey looks forward to advancing his education at university and building his career.

“During my time at Douglas I was really able to narrow down what it is that I love and where I see myself after I complete my education,” Corey says.

Chantal Gougen
Graduate Diploma in Physical Education

Chantal Gougen is an elementary school teacher in Surrey who knows it’s important to make physical education fun for her students.

“In the end, the purpose of physical education is to promote lifelong physical activity,” says Chantal, who graduate this week with a Graduate Diploma in Physical Education.

Chantal came to Douglas College to upgrade her skills and discover new ideas she could take back to her own classroom.

“After being in the workforce for 15 years, I wanted to see what new innovations existed in the field,” Chantal says. “I feel more enthusiastic to try new things in my PE program and have a renewed passion for my teaching.”

Brian Storey, Chair of the Sport Science Department, praised Chantal for her work ethic.

“Chantal is a walking example of the adage, ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person.’”

Faedra Mirhashemy
Associate of Arts Degree

The idea of quitting her full-time job to return to school was scary for Faedra Mirhashemy. But the pull of finally pursuing her dream of becoming an actor was too great to resist.

“Being on stage in front of a live audience was something I dreamed of doing since I was a little girl,” says Faedra, who graduates this week with an Associate of Arts Degree.

Allan Lysell, head of the Theatre Department at Douglas College, says Faedra entered the program with an abundance of energy, though she lacked practical experience. Allan says Faedra never let this deter her.

“Faedra was challenged with insecurities and the feeling she was behind her colleagues. But she worked tirelessly and found ways to learn more and more about acting and, more importantly, about herself and others. She is an example to her fellow students in fighting negative thoughts and emerging as a stronger, happier person.”

Faedra will also receive her diploma in Theatre in June. From there, she plans to complete a BA in fine arts.

“I then want to further my education to become a drama therapist to promote physical, spiritual, emotional and mental health through theatre techniques and art of expression,” she says.

Santana Speer
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

When Santana Speer was younger, she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. But she changed gears when she realized nursing was a better fit.

“I enjoy connecting with my patients at the bedside and having a chance to make a difference in their lives,” says Santana, who graduates this week from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

Santana chose the BSN program at Douglas College because of the small class sizes and personalized teaching style, which she says gave her the opportunity to learn in a friendly and supportive learning environment.

“The last four years of nursing have been full of great memories that I will never forget,” she says. “My best memory is when a group of my peers and I created lyrics for a song for one of our group presentations – it was a fun and interactive way to learn.”

A self-described “life-long learner,” Santana plans to get a master’s degree in nursing in the near future – the next step in a career she describes as “a dream come true.”

“I believe in following your passions, finding a career you love and working hard to pursue your dreams,” she says.