Train to­gether, work to­gether?

Part­ners proud of ac­com­plish­ment on grad­u­a­tion day

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRANK GALE frank.gale@thewest­ern­star.com Twit­ter: @WS_FrankGale

It’s not ev­ery grad­u­a­tion that a cou­ple grad­u­ates from the same course on the same day, but that was the case at Col­lege of the North At­lantic’s Bay St. Ge­orge Cam­pus recog­ni­tion cer­e­mony.

It’s not ev­ery grad­u­a­tion that a cou­ple grad­u­ates from the same course on the same day, but that was the case at Col­lege of the North At­lantic’s Bay St. Ge­orge Cam­pus recog­ni­tion cer­e­mony.

Mary Jesso, who grew up in Stephenville, and her part­ner Derek Tucker, who is orig­i­nally from Mead­ows, both grad­u­ated from the col­lege’s School of In­dus­trial Trades in the mo­bile crane op­er­a­tor course on Thursday.

Jesso said that course, or the heavy equip­ment op­er­a­tor course, is some­thing she wanted to do for a long time.

“When I found out she (Mary) was ap­ply­ing for the mo­bile crane op­er­a­tor course, I ap­plied for it as well, think­ing it would be good to do it to­gether,” Tucker said.

To do the course, he first had to up­grade his education and ap­plied to Keyin Col­lege in Stephenville, suc­cess­fully land­ing his Grade 12 equiv­a­lency diploma in six months. Jesso had pre­vi­ously up­graded her education at Western Col­lege to get her Grade 12 equiv­a­lency.

Tucker, who is 46 years of age, said he worked for 20 years with Trac­tion: Heavy Duty Parts sell­ing heavy equip­ment parts, so do­ing this course wasn’t a big stretch, as he’s been around heavy equip­ment a long time.

Jesso, who is 42 years old, was busy be­ing a mom to her daugh­ters Chris­tine and Stephanie Jesso, who both grad­u­ated from sec­ondary school sev­eral years ago.

The two had orig­i­nally met while camp­ing in Black Duck Sid­ing with friends some years ago, and met again camp­ing in the same com­mu­nity sev­eral years ago, start­ing a re­la­tion­ship. The two love the out­doors and the ac­tiv­i­ties that go along with it, es­pe­cially hik­ing.

They lived to­gether in Cor­ner Brook for five months be­fore mov­ing to Black Duck Sid­ing, where they have been liv­ing while tak­ing their course. Tucker said per­ma­nent hous­ing is on hold un­til they get work.

Both found the aca­demic part of the course a lit­tle hard, but Jesso said with teach­ers ea­ger to help and their own de­ter­mi­na­tion to com­plete the course, they man­aged to get through it to­gether.

“We stud­ied seven days a week and would get up at 6 a.m. and would be at the school be­fore our in­struc­tors ar­rived,” she said.

Derek said it was a re­ally good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, but you take from it what you put into it — and they both put an aw­ful lot in.

In the end it worked out well as both Jesso and Tucker passed with a 4.0 GPA and the two were named to the Hon­ours So­ci­ety at the col­lege.

They said the in­struc­tors and fel­low stu­dents were more like fam­ily and friends and made learn­ing en­joy­able. In­struct- ors were there to help, from aca­demic prob­lems to other chal­lenges they had in their per­sonal lives.

Both are will­ing to move away for work and have al­ready been ap­ply­ing for crane op­er­a­tor jobs in Al­berta. Af­ter get­ting through col­lege to­gether, they’re also hop­ing to work to­gether.

FRANK GALE/THE WESTERN STAR

The cou­ple of Mary Jesso and Derek Tucker pose for a photo af­ter their grad­u­a­tion cer­e­monies on Thursday from their Mo­bile Crane Op­er­a­tor course.

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