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Message from the President to the graduating class of 2020

Jul 08, 2020

Justin KohlmanTo the 2020 graduating class of Coast Mountain College,

Graduation is a time honoured tradition that recognizes the achievements of each year’s graduating class at Coast Mountain College. This year, due to the ongoing pandemic, celebrating together was not possible.

We know how hard this is for students who looked forward to crossing the stage in front of their friends and families to celebrate their achievement and acknowledge the sacrifices, dedication and perseverance that each graduate undertook to complete their studies successfully. It’s hard for the staff and faculty at Coast Mountain College too, who look forward to celebrating this milestone with our students each year.

Every graduating class is unique, but we will never forget the graduating class of 2020. You will stand out for the way you were all able to adapt and pivot so quickly during your final term, to finish your studies in a distributed learning format. In less than a week, our students switched gears to new ways of learning to adapt to the quickly evolving social distancing guidelines necessitated by COVID-19. It is an historical first and you all were a part of that.

This year, to honour your achievements and recognize the unique circumstances under which you completed your studies, we commissioned an art piece called Resilience, designed by Kari Morgan K’alaajex, a graduate herself of the Coast Mountain College’s Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art. 

Kari says that the fireweed represents hope in trying times, and the frog is a symbol of rebirth and renewal, recognizing the ability to adapt and transform.

How fitting for the class of 2020. Each of you completed your credentials under trying times. You had to adapt and innovate in order to persevere. This ability will give you all a resiliency and a tenacity that will serve you in the years to come.

Coast Mountain College’s connectedness to our sense of place and the communities we serve is key to who we are. Even our college logo, or visual identity, reflects the glacier till of surrounding rivers and represents the water ways which connect us. Many of our communities were built-up around rivers, lakes and the ocean, and navigating water has long been a way of life here.

By completing your studies, you have given yourself the tools to navigate into the next stage of your journey. Whatever direction you take on your journey from this point forward I ask you to commit to it.

Your journey will have rough waters and sometimes the road will seem endless. But it is in the overcoming of challenges that our mettle is strengthened and in the coming up with solutions, where our adaptability shines.

You will make new connections and create legacies of lasting value that are unique to your experience. Take your new skills and bring them to your communities because you are truly the ambassadors of this school and the makers of our future.

Do not forget those who have helped you get here – especially in this unprecedented year. Your family, your friends, your teachers, our staff and the community who have supported you, and who I know, are so very proud of your accomplishment.

You all have had a ripple effect on so many others with your decision to pursue your studies. Our college and our communities will be changed for the better forever because you have been part of us. 

Thank you. Thank you for putting your faith in us. Thank you for transforming our college and our region during your educational journey.

From the bottom of my heart, congratulations. 

Here’s to the graduating class of 2020!

Justin Kohlman
President & CEO
Coast Mountain College