The past two years haven’t gone as planned for Jayden Aldred.
The criminal justice-policing student arrived at Lethbridge College in January 2020, just months before COVID-19 forced the college to move classes to remote learning.
“My three months here were amazing and I loved it here. I got to participate in a bunch of events,” Aldred said. “But when I had to go back home, stuff changed going online.”
When in-person classes resumed last fall, Aldred remained online, finishing her education at home.
While not the experience she anticipated, she adjusted to her new learning situation.
“(The) biggest adaptation for me was finding my own way to learn and how to process the information in a way that would be meaningful, rather than just absorbing some information and spitting it back out,” Aldred said.
Aldred is one of roughly 1,000 Lethbridge College graduates who are receiving a diploma, degree or certificate this spring.
After downsizing convocation in the fall, the celebrations this past week are the first with both graduates and invited guests in attendance since 2019, something faculty are proud to see.
“It’s just so heartwarming and exciting to have everybody back,” said dean of student affairs Nancy Russell.
“I think it really helps to add that element of celebration. Doing it online of course was helpful, but this is just a much better way to celebrate.”
The weekend-long events include a Stone Pipe celebration, a full contest powwow and a ceremony honouring the college’s Indigenous graduates.
“Our ancestors always prayed for our children to get a good education, and it’s a blessing to see that now happening,” said Betty-Ann Little Wolf, a member of the college’s Indigenous services cultural support program. Little Wolf also received an honourary degree from the school on Friday.
For Aldred, attending the powwow marks a meaningful end to her post-secondary education and a transition to a promising future.
“When I heard about the powwow, I knew my grandfather would want me to join, so I chose to do it to honour him.”