Saint-Jean: cherished memories to last a life time

As is tradition, during the Cérémonie de la lumière, two students present the farewell speech on behalf of their classmates. The 2016 ceremony was no exception to the rule, except that this year, there were three students.

Étienne Alary - 16 May 2016

After Champagne Colin and Patrick Cajina Cortez, Victorine Mimbe Abe took the stage to represent the pioneer batch of Centre Collégiale de l'Alberta (CCA).

It should be recalled that in September, 2014, the CCA opened its door offering the Business Administration Diploma program. "On the starting line, we were 17 students," recalls Victorine. "For two years we went through the Business Administration Diploma program offered in collaboration with the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). During our studies, we enjoyed the content of the courses, and enriched our respective backgrounds. A lot of skills acquired, which enable us to be competitive in the labour market in Canada and abroad,'' she adds.

According to this graduate, "Studying in French in an English environment is an undeniable added value. To be honest, bilingualism is a big asset on the labour market always."

The holder of a Bachelor of Arts, Patrick Cajina Cortez goes further. "Campus Saint-Jean is a diverse campus with a mosaic of cultures and language programs. Indeed, this is a gateway to multiculturalism, diversity and personal development,'' says the young man. ''This exchange of Canadian culture with international cultures is something unique, and we wish to thank everyone who made the effort to ensure that all students of the campus, international or domestic, to feel like part of the Saint-Jean Family,'' he adds.

For Colin Champagne, equally a graduate in arts and who was the president of AUFSJ (a student association) during the academic year 2015-2016, the CSJ is unique. ''When you meet people from North Campus, Augustana and elsewhere, many will agree that, CSJ has a family and community atmosphere. We must admit, Campus Saint-Jean is an outstanding faculty in Canada,'' he says.

As Colin Champagne emphasized, a student chooses to study in CSJ for various reasons. "As they get up every morning, Francophones and Francophiles have to make the decision to live either in French or English. For many, the easy option is to live in English, but we decided to live in French. By choosing CSJ, we took the decision to immerse ourselves in the Francophone community and speak Molière's language. It would have been easy to go studying in the main campus and learn English; however, we took the road less travelled. We are the pioneers of the future,'' he says.

The three students thanked the members of the administrative and academic staff for their unwavering support during their stay at Saint-Jean.'' The advantage of being a student at Campus Saint-Jean is that you are not just a number but a student with a name. Every teacher knows his students' faces and makes the effort to learn their names. It is a reality that does not occur in the main campus,'' said Colin Champagne.

Victorine, in turn, thanked the people who made "this project, dear to the Franco-Albertan community, a reality. At the same time, we thank Campus Saint- Jean for facilitating our integration into the community," she says.

Patrick, meanwhile, took the opportunity to especially thank the minibus drivers who commute daily between CSJ and the main campus. "In most academic institutions, I would say that the bus drivers may not play as big a role in the daily lives of students, but here at Campus Saint- Jean, you have always been there to show us the way. Thank you for your words of encouragement and for every inspiring conversation that took place on your minibus."

Graduates are now ready to take the next step in their lives. "Our graduation from the Business Administration diploma program marks the end of our journey at Centre collégiale de l'Alberta, but also marks our beginning as ambassadors for live of this institution,'' said Victorine Abe Mimbe.

"The university experience has opened many doors for us. Some of us will become teachers, others scientists or maybe even entrepreneurs. And for some, the path is not yet set in stone,'' says Patrick Cajina Cortez.

"We are the children of the campus and we are exotic fruits ready to be harvested by potential employers in the labour market. Dear friends, we have had good times and bad times, but I assure you that CSJ will remain dear to us forever. We will not be physically in CSJ, but we cannot remove CSJ from our hearts,'' says Colin Champagne.