48-year-old Vernon graduate gets her Okanagan College certificate despite pandemic - InfoNews

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48-year-old Vernon graduate gets her Okanagan College certificate despite pandemic

Image Credit: Okanagan College
July 01, 2020 - 1:10 PM

The phrase “going back to school” is exciting on many levels for Okanagan College Vernon graduate Toby Griffin.

When she took the leap of returning to college at 48 to pursue her dream of becoming a certified education assistant, Griffin never imagined she’d finish off her studies during a pandemic, according to an Okanagan College news release.

Griffin is one of 27 new OC EA graduates who took time recently to show their appreciation to their instructor for helping them meet theirs. On Friday, June 19, grads from the EA program at the college’s Vernon campus came together to mark the completion of their program, while physically distancing at an acreage in the Vernon area, according to the news release.

READ MORE: Okanagan College expected to see fewer international students, loss in revenue unknown

“I’m a proud mother of five children and I’ve always been passionate about supporting young learners,” Griffin said in the news release. “I’ve been a Montessori pre-school teacher, a basketball coach, and held others roles in the community. It felt like it was my time to be able to go back to school to do this, to continue putting my love for education and supporting learners to work, and, hopefully, to inspire others around me to pursue their dreams.”

While the pandemic presented challenges – such as the rapid shift to online learning in March – it brought students together and offered up lessons that will be invaluable for them going forward, she noted in the release.

“Now that we’re finished, I can definitely say I appreciate the experience so much more, and took so much more away from it. I have a much deeper appreciation for children in the school system who have exceptionalities. I think we’ll all be better EAs for experiencing what we went through as learners during the pandemic,” Griffin said in the release.

“We really built a bond as a team, and I know we’ll collaborate for a lifetime as professionals. It was very special that we could take this opportunity to have a kind of grad ceremony, to celebrate each other for making it through, for supporting one another, and to reflect on what we’ve all accomplished.”


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