Amanda Jones will be one of hundreds of OC graduates taking a momentous step this weekend, as she and her peers cross the red carpet at the College’s first Convocation ceremonies of the year.
And for the Penticton mother of two – who juggled a return to classroom with supporting a family and running a successful business during a global pandemic – the long-awaited moment brings feelings of pride and a continued desire to keep learning.
Okanagan College will recognize graduates at two ceremonies in Kelowna on Saturday:
- 10:30 a.m. – Science, Technology and Health Programs
- 1:30 p.m. – Arts and Business Programs
The ceremonies will be held in the Centre for Learning (E building) atrium at the Kelowna Campus, 1000 KLO Rd, and will also be livestreamed on the College’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/okanagancollege.
Jones, who is owner of McPhail Kilt Makers, which produces bespoke garments celebrating Scottish culture, will be swapping tartan for a graduate’s robes on Saturday. As the big day approaches, the Associate of Arts graduand has been reflecting on her journey.
“After graduating high school, I devoted my attention to raising my family and growing a business,” explains Jones. “But over the years I’ve always had my eye on continuing my education – it was just a matter of finding the right place and the right time. I love literature, and so in 2020 I decided to go for it and pursue that passion.”
Just as she was about to step into the classroom in early 2020, the pandemic hit. She and her fellow classmates persevered, buoyed by each other and by the positive environment fostered by OC faculty and staff.
“If I had to sum up my experience at OC in a word, it would be ‘encouraging’. My professors and fellow students were so supportive, which made stepping back into the classroom so much easier,” adds Jones. “It reminded me that we should never stop learning. Learn is a lifelong journey and I’m so glad I made the decision to attend OC – it couldn’t have come at a better time in my life.”
For Jones, graduation day feels all the more rewarding given two people very dear to her who will be on hand to witness her milestone – her teenagers.
“It has been wonderful to feel like I was setting an example for my kids in demonstrating my commitment to lifelong learning, hard work and persistence. I’m happy they’re proud of me.”
Jones is among the nearly 800 graduates who will be recognized at Winter Convocation.
“We can’t wait to applaud graduates for their accomplishments, and we can’t wait to see what they do next as they further their education, their careers, their community involvement – the countless unique ways in which they transform themselves and their communities around them for the better,” said Neil Fassina, president, Okanagan College. “The positive impact our students and alumni generate is incredibly far-reaching. This isn’t the end of the journey… it’s just the beginning.”
For more information, visit the College’s Convocation and Commencement page: www.okanagan.bc.ca/convocation.