Two convocation ceremonies were held for Red Deer College graduates at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre on Friday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Red Deer College grads ready for ‘next chapter’

Looking ahead to careers in their chosen fields

Red Deer College graduates say they are ready for their next challenge.

On Friday, about 600 of the 1,668 eligible grads donned caps and gowns for convocation ceremonies at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Jordanna Cota, a new registered nurse, said she was “freaking pumped” to graduate from her home town college.

“I’m just ready to move on to the next chapter. Make money. Do things other than spend my money on textbooks, and not have my head in the books as well,” Cota said.

“As much as people say going to work every day sucks, I think it’s very exciting to work toward other things, like travel and family, events. Move on,” said Cota, who has a job on the surgical trauma unit at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Fellow RN graduate Catherine Geary, from northern Alberta, said she was also excited and proud to be receiving her diploma.

“I’ll probably cry,” said Geary, who was blinking back tears before the ceremony.

“I’m excited to start working. I went to school for four years, and now I’m excited to put all that knowledge and experience into being an RN,” said Geary, who will be working at Ponoka Hospital and on unit 23 at Red Deer hospital.

Geary and Cota were preparing for convocation with two more friends graduating from the nursing program.

Hope Skocdopole, of Big Valley, said the four will definitely stay in touch.

Skocdopole, who is working at Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, fast-tracked her studies to finish six months ago, and said coming back for graduation with her friends has been fun.

She said there are nursing jobs no matter where you look, although sometimes, it might not be exactly what you want.

“As a new grad, I think we’re set up pretty well to go wherever we want eventually,” Skocdopole said.

Alexis Lavis-Williams, of Lloydminster, Sask., who works on unit 23 and the pediatrics unit in Red Deer, said the size of the city, and RDC, were a good fit for her.

“I heard lots of good things about Red Deer College and their nursing program, so I chose it,” said Lavis-Williams, whose sisters lived in Red Deer.

“I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t in nursing. Ever since I was a little kid, I said I was going to be a nurse. Glad it happened and we’re here,” said Lavis-Williams while taking photos with her friends.


Lyn Radford receives honorary degree at Red Deer College convocation ceremonies

WATCH: Red Deer College graduates look to future at convocation

Kira Kirkland, of Edmonton, who graduated as an actor from the motion picture arts program, said she heard about the program from a past graduate who had a great experience at RDC. But receiving her diploma was kind of surreal, said Kirkland.

“It’s been four years leading up to this, and now it’s finally here. I was kind of in awe,” said Kirkland, who now lives in Calgary and has an agent.

“In Calgary, there’s a fair amount happening. Vancouver and Toronto have lots happening. People are enjoying coming to film in Canada in general, so things are definitely starting to pick up in the film and television industry,” Kirkland said.

Philip Neustaeter, who graduated with a legal assistant diploma, said the program was awesome, and he now has some job interviews lined up.

“Everyone in the legal profession says Red Deer College’s program is better than any other program in Alberta,” said Neustaeter, of La Crete, Alta.

“I was interested in maybe becoming a lawyer and I thought this would be a good start towards that.”

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Nursing graduates Catherine Geary, Hope Skocdopole, Jordanna Cota and Alexis Lavis-Williams were among the RDC graduates who took part in convocation ceremonies on Friday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

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