Spring is always a time when our collective mood brightens and we look ahead with a renewed sense of anticipation. From an Indigenous perspective, the natural world is beginning to wake up from the Big Sleep. For the College, it is an exciting and busy time as we approach the conclusion of the Winter term and learners and faculty prepare for final assessments.

As we watch the last pockets of snow melt away and daylight extends into the evening hours, this year in particular, there is a mounting sense of hope. The images we are seeing of people being vaccinated in our own community and around the world gives us hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel, a feeling that this long journey we have been on together is headed in a positive direction.

While on one hand we are buoyed by the warmer weather and positive news about vaccinations, we also see the number of confirmed cases rising. This is resulting in many regions moving to more restrictive zones of the Provincial Re-Opening Framework, and reminds us just how critical it is that we adhere to public health guidelines. Alongside our academic lessons, we have learned over the last year the importance of looking after each other – from wearing our masks to practising physical distancing and washing our hands.

The success of our College community has relied heavily on our learners and employees abiding by these core public health directives, and our own core values of Caring, Learning, Integrity and Respect. The many measures we have taken to keep our campuses safe and provide the highest level of education have been nothing short of remarkable. The COVID-19 resources we have put in place will continue to serve learners and employees as we face the challenges still posed by the pandemic.

It is a tribute to your dedication and commitment – learning in a new and largely virtual environment – that you have arrived at this place. Earnestly setting about finishing course work and studying for exams, I know many of you are now looking ahead to your future after graduation.

While nobody can accurately predict the future, it is certain that the perseverance displayed by you, our students and our employees over the past year will serve all of us well going forward. To our students specifically, I would like to note that your generation has made enormous sacrifices, and I am confident that you will have opportunities ahead that have not been presented in a long time.

We have had little time to process exactly how much our world has changed in the past year, but the scope is enormous and will reverberate for years to come. When we look back through history, times of great adversity often lead to incredible and progressive human and societal growth … and this time will be no different in that regard. With the semester coming to a close, and as we get ready to pack away the winter boots and parkas for another year, I hope the longer, brighter days allow everyone to recharge, and I wish each of you great success on your final assessments.