Several years ago you visited the College for the first time, and as you toured the studios your eyes lit up, telling us without words that this was the place for you. Before we knew it you were arriving (with excitement and nervousness in equal measure) for your first day of classes. We watched you blossom and grow in your medium. Over months and years, a confident, competent maker was crafted. Suddenly, you were a capable graduate walking across the stage, celebrated for your accomplishments.

Governor General’s Academic Medal Winner Melodie Lavallée (Haana-SikSik)

This is the cycle of our College. Some alumni return as teachers, and others write to us from far flung places. Never are they closer and more open than as students, and so convocation day, for many of us in the faculty and administration, is a time of excitement and melancholy in equal measure. Time passes before our eyes as the graduates pass across the stage, faces filled with smiles. We are reminded of that first day when your eyes lit up and you saw your school for the first time.

Valedictorians Tyler Nagle and Valerie Chabassol, nominated by their graduating class.

You might expect it to be become routine, but if you think that, you clearly haven’t met our students. Despite being part of this ongoing cycle, each group and each individual is unique and presents new innovations. The discoveries, mistakes, needs and challenges of the 2019 graduating class will impact the curriculum, the instructors, and subsequently all future graduates. Each studio and the learning within is a process of building by many hands. We shape the curriculum, and then it shapes us.

Graduates of Foundation Visual Arts

As you go off don’t forget us, but most importantly don’t forget this place. It’s a living place, and you are still a part of it wherever you go. No amount of time, no future graduates can ever erase your connection and the impact you have had on all of us still here, and those yet to be here.

Aboriginal Visual Arts Graduates Oakley Wysote Gray and Kaelyn Reed Martin – Beadworkers.

Here, there will always be someone who’s got your back. Let that be the bedrock on which you build your career.

NBCCD Diploma & ASP Graduate Exhibition at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, exhibiting through summer 2019. This piece by Madeline Phillips.