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Assiniboine graduates surprised with impromptu ceremonies

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Practical Nursing graduate Katie Hurley receives her diploma from Assiniboine president Mark Frison outside her family home in Brandon.
Practical Nursing graduate Katie Hurley receives her diploma from Assiniboine president Mark Frison outside her family home in Brandon.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought large gatherings to a halt around the globe earlier this year. In Manitoba, this included graduation ceremonies at the secondary and post-secondary level.

With Assiniboine Community College’s spring graduation ceremonies postponed until fall, more than 1,350 students will have to wait for a public venue to celebrate their accomplishments in robes and tassels among peers, family and friends.

For six Assiniboine graduates, a surprise came early when college president Mark Frison hand-delivered their parchments earlier this month. Certificates and diplomas were presented to each graduate, abiding by the provincial public health recommended physical distancing guidelines.

“We had to get creative with how we presented the diplomas to each graduate by affixing their parchment to props that were fitting of the program they completed,” said Frison.

For Practical Nursing graduate Katie Hurley, this meant having her diploma attached to a walking crutch. Emily Alexander, a Carpentry & Woodworking graduate from the college’s Parkland campus in Dauphin, received her certificate on the end of a carpenter level.

“While I’m sure many felt a bit funny having the president show up in his ceremonial robes for an impromptu graduation ceremony, we were thrilled to be able to have some fun with graduates in light of the current circumstances.”