Selkirk College Year in Review: Ten Great Stories in 2014

Selkirk College Year in Review: Ten Great Stories in 2014

Dec 23 2014
It's been a tremendous 12 months at Selkirk College with students transforming their lives through education and training. As we get set for the new year ahead, a quick look back at some of the bigger moments in the lives of students, instructors, staff and alumni in 2014.

There are as many great stories at Selkirk College in a given year as there are students, faculty and staff. That’s means thousands of individuals in 2014 could tell stories of how lives have been transformed through education and training offered at Selkirk College. As the clock ticks down to 2015, we don’t have the time to get to all of them. Instead we’re pleased to highlight 10 stories which stood out in 2014.

Check out the list below and join us in taking a look back on another amazing year at Selkirk College.

Kiesza Hits the World Stage

When Kiesa Rae Ellestad arrived to Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus to take the Contemporary Music & Technology Program it didn’t take long for her to stand out amongst a very talented group of students. Keyboard instructor Gilles Parenteau says she is “probably the most determined person I’ve met.”

Selkirk College alumnae Kiesza had an amazing 2014 and it all started with her incredible one-take video Hideaway.

In 2014 the world got a serious dose of the amazing talents of the artist and Selkirk College alumnae now known simply as Kiesza. In early May, her brilliant one-take video Hideaway had an impressive 12 million views on YouTube. Today the video is nearing 175 million views. In between she has seen her song reach the top of charts worldwide, blew people away with live performances on David Letterman and Jimmy Kimmel Live, has played before hundreds of thousands of adoring fans, has been nominated for numerous awards, released her first major album, will appear at the Juno Awards in March, and made the cover of Maclean’s Magazine’s year-end edition right alongside the faces of some of the most famous people on the planet.

It’s been a brilliant year for the Selkirk College grad and it doesn’t appear as if 2015 will be any less magical. Selkirk College is proud to have played a role in her early years when she was developing her skills and figuring out just what kind of artist she wanted to be.

Here’s a look back at a story we ran in May when Kiesza was just at the start of her dazzling romp through 2014.

Saints Repeat as Provincial Champions

The Selkirk College Saints hockey program has provided plenty to celebrate over the last few years and 2014 was no different. After another amazing run through the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League regular season where they ended up first overall, the Saints went onto repeat as league champions when they defeated Trinity Western University in a two-game sweep at the Castlegar Recreation Complex.

The Selkirk College Saints celebrate their second straight BCIHL championship at the Castlegar Recreation Complex.

Looking at the team’s success over the last three seasons, it’s hard to imagine that the Saints were the league’s basement dwellers in the five seasons prior to their 2012-2013 BCIHL championship. Thanks to the great recruiting efforts by former head coach Jeff Dubois, the Saints managed to become the league’s measuring stick in a very short period of time.

In the summer, Dubois left to coach in Creston and turned the team over to the very capable hands of Alex Evin. In September the Saints raised the 2013-2014 championship banner to the rafters of the Castlegar arena and this season’s team set out on what they hope will be a three-peat come March.

Here’s a look back to the story we wrote back in March when the Saints claimed their second straight title before a packed house of enthusiastic supporters in Castlegar.

Major Renovation Planned for Silver King

First opened in 1964 as the British Columbia Vocational School in Nelson, the Silver King Campus has turned out thousands of graduates in trades and a variety of other industries for more than 50 years. After five decades of constant use, the bricks and mortar at Silver King is showing serious signs of age.

Selkirk College received a $1 million cheque from Columbia Basin Trust to help launch the college’s $32 million capital improvement project. On Wednesday Selkirk College staff and students were joined by more than 40 local industry, business and political leaders for the official kick-off. Pictured are (L-R): Johnny Strilaeff (Trust vice president and chief operating officers), Am Naqvi (Trust board member representing Nelson), Angus Graeme (Selkirk College president), Neil Muth (Trust president and chief executive officer) and Gary Leier (Selkirk College director of human resources and community relations).

In March, Selkirk College announced that it was embarking on a major $32 million capital plan that would upgrade both the Silver King and Castlegar campuses. More than 40 community leaders, industry insiders and Selkirk College staff came out for a kick-off event in the Heavy Mechanical Program shop which announced a campaign to raise funds for the project. Columbia Basin Trust was the first generous contributor with a $1 million cheque that got it started.

As the year comes to a close, the Silver King Campus project continues to gather steam and more good news is expected for 2015.

Take a look back to early March when the project was first announced.

Forestry Alumnae Returns with Great News

Equipping students with the educational tools required to meet in-demand careers is what Selkirk College prides itself on. With a strengthening forest industry in British Columbia, the Castlegar-based Forest Technology Program is one of the programs helping fill the gap of skilled workers.

Selkirk College alumnus Jean Christie was on the Castlegar Campus in early October as part of a West Fraser Timber recruiting trip. With the forest industry in need of trained workers, the Selkirk College Forest Technology Program is seen as an asset for employers.

In the fall, Forest Technology Program alumnae Jean Christie touched down at the Castlegar Campus as part of a West Fraser recruiting trip. One of the rising stars in the forest industry, Christie spoke with current students about the opportunities that exist with her company. It was a great example of how the college helps put the pieces together for both students and employers.

Read more about Christie’s visit and how she is setting an example of what can be achieved. 

Mir Lecture Series Doesn’t Disappoint

Since 2007, the Mir Lecture Series and Mir Peace Cafés have been bringing a diverse selection of local and international speakers to the West Kootenay-Boundary. The goal of the special events is to promote learning and dialogue. In 2014, the line-up didn’t disappoint.

Internationally recognized author Lawrence Hill was in Nelson on November 7 for a Mir Centre for Peace Lecture Series called Blood: The Stuff of Life.

The two main Mir Lecture Series evenings included award winning journalist and activist Chris Hedges in February and Canadian author Lawrence Hill in November. Both speakers packed the house and spurred dialogue well beyond their visits.

Mixed in between were several other events that ranged from intimate to entertaining.

As the year started to wrap, organizers of the Mir Lecture Series announced an exciting 2015 event that will feature Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein.

Take a look back at our interview and story on Lawrence Hill.

From the Desert to the Conflict Zone

Selkirk College is brimming with talented instructors in all of our programs. At Kootenay Studio Arts in Nelson, Bronze Casting Instructor Denis Kleine is one of the teachers who had a standout year beyond the classroom and brought a world of knowledge back to the West Kootenay.

Selkirk College Kootenay Studio Arts casting instructor Denis Kleine (middle) worked on this sand sculpture of a large underwater scene with artists from Ghana and Syria.

In late-2013, Kleine traveled to Kuwait City to help build the ambitious temporary sand sculpture theme park called 1001 Arabian Nights. While in the Middle East, the veteran instructor was treated to a glimpse into another culture while helping construct 80 sculptures alongside the world’s elite sand artists. The theme park opened in early-2014.

In the summer, Kleine embarked for a trip to Israel where he got started on the Peace Symbol Project which will eventually bring his Peace Symbol sculpture to one of the most volatile areas on the planet.

Read more about Kleine’s efforts to help strive towards peace in the Middle East.

The Co-op Advantage

Selkirk College’s Co-op Education and Employment Services (CEES) is an important asset for students and employers. Bringing together newly acquired skills and in-demand jobs, CEES is all about connecting the dots.

Alexandra Winter prepares to leave for her four-month GIS internship with the World Food Programme.

Examples of how CEES acts as a launch pad for students are many and one of those stories came from Alexandra Winter, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Advanced Diploma graduate who landed her dream internship with the World Food Programme in Rome this past summer. Winter used CEES to secure an important four-month placement that has set up her for a bright future of success.

Read about Winter’s road to the Rome internship.

A Fitting Valedictorian for the Class of 2014

April at Selkirk College is a time of stress and celebration. Students hit the books hard in preparation for final exams and once complete, those in their final year of studies prepare for an important milestone in their lives.

Plant Operator Program graduate Hart Joron joined the Class of 2014 in helping celebrate their important milestones.

The Class of 2014 included more than 750 students from a variety of different Selkirk College programs. One of those students was Hart Joron, a Plant Operator Program student who was chosen as this year’s valedictorian. With a bright future ahead, Joron gave the valedictory speech at the late-April ceremony on the Castlegar Campus.

Read more about Joron’s journey to achieving his post-secondary goal.

Five Decades of Quality Education

For five decades the Silver King Campus in Nelson has been a vital hub of trades training and education in a number of important programs. In 2014 the campus turned 50 and Selkirk College marked its important history with a birthday celebration in October.

Cutting the cake in a fittingly trades manner were (L-R) Dan Obradovic (School Chair of Industry & Trades), Kate Pelletier (Nelson Instructional Dean), Bruce Morrison (Chair of the Selkirk College Board), Cathy Mercer (Selkirk Registrar), Angus Graeme (Selkirk College President) and Neil Coburn (Vice President of Education and Students).

Current students and staff joined alumni and retired staff in mingling with community leaders and college supporters on a beautiful West Kootenay autumn day. More than 400 people came out to hear the speeches, talk about the old days and have lunch.

Find out more about the birthday barbecue and the importance of the Silver King Campus through the years.

Helping Find the Cure to Health Care Woes

One of the most celebrated new post-secondary programs in British Columbia in 2014 was Selkirk College’s Rural Pre-Medicine Program. Looking to fill a critical gap in the health care system with creative solutions, the program began recruiting students at the start of the year. When the new school year began in September, 17 eager students were members of the program’s first ever cohort.

The first ever Selkirk College Rural Pre-Medicine Program gathered for a group shot in September as they embarked on their three-year educational journey.

The Rural Pre-Medicine Program is an example of why community colleges are vital to Canada’s education system. Identifying a need and putting together a curriculum that aims at tangible outcomes is one of the many strengths of Selkirk College. In 2015, a new cohort of ambitious students will start the program and it won’t be long before the results are felt in our health care system.

Read about how the Rural Medicine Program came to be and what it will mean for the future.

Browse all the Selkirk College news stories from 2014 and join us on Facebook.

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