The College of New Caledonia (CNC) celebrated the graduation of more than 250 students during its convocation ceremony on Saturday.
CNC interim president Bryn Kulmatycki said graduating from a college program is a milestone not just for graduates, but for their families and loved ones as well.
"Every students' success is due not just to their own hard work, but the supports they have around them. We are delighted at what you've been able to accomplish," Kulmatycki said. "CNC is very proud of its graduates. We are now over 100,000 strong."
Kulmatycki encouraged students to continue learning and developing their skills throughout their lives.
Coun. Lyn Hall, serving as acting mayor, praised the college's role as an important institution in Prince George.
He said the graduates, including his nephew, will benefit from the education they've received for years to come.
"For all of you who are going to come up to the stage and receive your diploma... you've chose to give yourself an education which will help you grow," Hall said. "Your education will serve you well throughout your future."
CNC board chairman Keith Playfair urged students to remember their time at CNC and use the skills they've learned in the community.
"Everywhere you go as CNC alumni you will be ambassadors for the college. I hope you will take with you a fondness for the College of New Caledonia," he said. "Each and everyone one of you can make a real difference."
Playfair also presented the Mary John Award -named after Order of Canada recipient Mary John of the Saik'uz First Nation -to Kelsey Antoine.
The award recognizes students who show mentorship, dignity, community service and an ability to cross cultural boundaries.
Antoine said receiving the award was a humbling moment, given her own Saik'uz ancestry.
"Mary John was my great aunt," Antoine said. "It was one of the proudest moments that I've experienced in my life."
She said having strong female role models in her life like her great aunt and grandmother was instrumental in shaping her life.
Antoine participated in CNC's Next Step for Youth Skills Link Program in Vanderhoof, where she took on a mentorship role.
"I was able to grow from that experience," she said. "I want to continue my education. I'm not going to the only person to benefit from my success, I want to share it with my community."