On the first day of her final year in the Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching program at Douglas College, it suddenly dawned on Nicole Pruden that she did not want to be a teacher.
“I had an overwhelming realization that teaching just wasn’t what I wanted to do,” the Delta resident says. “Almost simultaneously, I started researching a career as a firefighter.”
Despite the shift, Pruden persevered in her studies at Douglas to earn her degree – and then some.
She graduates this month as valedictorian, representing more than 150 students.
“To finally graduate after five years of post-secondary education is an amazing feeling, but to graduate as valedictorian is somewhat surreal.”
The honour comes as no surprise to her instructors, who describe Nicole as an active leader, positive contributor and genuine, both as a person and in her approach to learning.
“Throughout her studies, Nicole set high standards for herself and continuously achieved those goals,” says Ken Anderson, coordinator of Physical Education and Coaching. “In addition to her academics, Nicole was a fantastic classroom citizen, as she regularly brought enthusiasm and a wealth of practical examples to classroom discussions.”
“Her strength lies in her ability to stretch the typical boundaries found in most learning environments, leading to a much more valuable learning experience,” adds Gord Sturrock, coordinator of Fieldwork and Coaching. “The qualities that have allowed Nicole to achieve academic success and positive role model status at Douglas will serve her well in any endeavour she decides to pursue.”