Great Plains sends grads off with fi­nal farewell

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - JA­SON KERR SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Great Plains Col­lege capped off an­other suc­cess­ful year with a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony at their Swift Cur­rent Cam­pus on May 30.

The col­lege had a to­tal of 120 grad­u­ates this year in 13 dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines such as Busi­ness, Prac­ti­cal Nurs­ing and Weld­ing.

“The col­lege is sup­posed to be about stu­dents, and if it’s go­ing to re­ally be about stu­dents, then they should be walk­ing across that grad­u­a­tion stage with a full post-sec­ondary ex­pe­ri­ence,” col­lege pres­i­dent David Keast said af­ter the cer­e­mony.

“That’s what they get, I hope, and we need to see them in the job mar­ket next.”

Keast said he feels a com­bi­na­tion of pride and a sense of ac­com­plish­ment ev­ery time he watches a grad­u­ate re­ceive a cer­tifi­cate or di­ploma. It’s a feel­ing many of the col­lege’s grad­u­ates share.

“It feels amaz­ing.

It’s some­thing that you’ve looked for­ward to and dreamed of for a whole year,” grad­u­ate Michelle Entz said.

“You feel like jump­ing up and down rather than walk­ing grace­fully up the steps.

“It’s a huge ac­com­plish­ment.”

Entz, along with her sis­ter, also re­ceived the Adult 12 Aca­demic Award for be­ing at the top of her pro­gram.

She hopes to use her di­ploma as a spring­board into the health­care pro­fes­sion. Cur­rently, she’s reg­is­tered in the col­lege’s nurs­ing pro­gram.

“I wanted to fur­ther my ed­u­ca­tion,” she said af­ter the cer­e­mony.

“I got into my con­tin­u­ing care sys­tem pro­gram and I just re­ally en­joyed that job, so I wanted to keep go­ing and get into nurs­ing here.”

Get­ting a job in their cho­sen field is the most im­por­tant thing to the stu­dents grad­u­at­ing, and Keast doesn’t dis­pute that.

How­ever, he does hope that when they leave the ex­pe­ri­ence will have an im­pact that goes be­yond job prospects.

“There’s no ques­tion about the power of a col­lege ed­u­ca­tion for link­ing with em­ploy­ment and help­ing people find jobs, but be­yond that I think it’s also sup­posed to be about growth and change,” he said.

“The per­son who walks out the grad­u­a­tion door with a cer­tifi­cate is not quite the same per­son who walked in a year ear­lier or two years ear­lier.”

While this marks the end of the line for most col­lege grads, Keast and his staff al­ready have next year in mind. Af­ter spend­ing the last two years at the col­lege, Keast likes what he sees, and hopes they can con­tinue to boost the col­lege’s pro­file and ef­fec­tive­ness in the fu­ture.

“En­roll­ments are up. Pro­grams are func­tion­ing ef­fec­tively.

“The staff seems to be pulling to­gether, the col­lege is pulling to­gether and all I can say is I’m pleased with the progress that’s be­ing made.” Great Plains Col­lege Pres­i­dent David Keast helped hand out 120 grad­u­a­tion cer­tifi­cates dur­ing grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies at the Swift Cur­rent Cam­pus on May 30.

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