Lonie Reimer knew she wanted to be a Health Care Assistant at a young age, a long-time dream that will become reality tomorrow when she crosses the stage and receives her credentials at Okanagan College’s Vernon ceremony.
Tuesday’s ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Greater Vernon Recreation Centre and will see students from Business, International Development, Education Assistant, Adult Special Education, Health Care Assistant, Arts, Sciences and more receive their credentials.
“When I was younger, my grandparents went into an assisted living facility for extra care,” explains Reimer. “We lived in different provinces at the time and I remember feeling heartbroken that I couldn’t be there to help them and that it was a complete stranger that gave them the care they needed. It sparked a little fire inside of me and I knew I wanted to be able to do the same for someone else’s grandparents one day.”
Reimer’s passion to become a Health Care Assistant (HCA) brought her to the College’s Vernon campus where she found more than just an education.
“HCA’s are inherent people-persons and my entire class of 27 began to form these amazing relationships and this wonderful community where we all helped each other learn, get through the really tough parts of the program, share each other’s successes, and really grow together,” says Reimer. “I’m leaving the College with an education, a job in hand and an amazing community of friends, colleagues and instructors.”
Reimer has already found work in the healthcare industry and currently works as an HCA in a private group home for people with special needs and at a senior’s home. She credits her training and practicum – which saw her spend eight weeks honing her skills at four different care facilities – for the success and rewarding feeling she gets after each shift.
“Being an HCA can be intimidating because you’re working with real people who need real care,” explains Reimer. “I’m so thankful I got to do a practicum as part of the program. The hands-on experience is amazing. It reminded me how much I had learned in class and showed me I was able to apply it – experiencing those success moments reminds you of why you’re doing this and makes you want to work even harder.”
The Vernon Convocation ceremony on June 26 marks the sixth of eight annual ceremonies the College will host this year. Students will hear from Mollie QuilQuil Sneena Bono, an advocate for Aboriginal peoples and SD #22 Trustee, who will be recognized at the ceremony as an Honorary Fellow – the highest honour bestowed by the College.
Also addressing graduates will be the College’s President, Jim Hamilton
“Our Vernon Convocation ceremony is a chance to recognize students attending Okanagan College from Vernon all the way to Salmon Arm and Revelstoke,” explains Hamilton. “But even more notable than the number of communities they hail from is the diversity of backgrounds and programs represented. From business to health care to the technologies and the skilled trades, these graduates will be among those ensuring the future prosperity of our region and far beyond. On behalf of Okanagan College, I commend each of our graduates on their accomplishments.”
Two more ceremonies will be held on Wednesday, June 27 and Thursday, June 28 at the Kelowna campus. By the end of June, more than 2000 students will have graduated from Okanagan College.
All ceremonies will be live streamed on the Okanagan College Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/okanagancollege.ca/.