A procession through the Townshend Theatre here last Tuesday served as the final stretch for 23 graduates of the local Confederation College campus.
Parents, teachers, scholars, and professionals gathered to witness the students cross the stage to celebrate the completion of their academic programs.
Each student was called upon during the convocation ceremony for a moment of recognition.
One remarkable student, however, was recognized time and time again. By the end of the ceremony, Chelsea Bragg had been called to the podium an unprecedented three times.
She was presented with both the Academic Award of Excellence within her social service worker program and the Rainy River District Campus Award of Excellence for maintaining the highest grade point average.
Then shortly before the ceremony concluded, Bragg was asked to come forward once more to accept an award granted to only a handful of students from the entire college.
“Chelsea is receiving the Board of Governors Award, which is presented to one student from each [faculty] within all of Confederation College,” said campus director Anne Renaud, who presented the award.
“Recipients are chosen based on outstanding contribution made to student life, community affairs and citizenship, as well as academic achievement,” she noted.
“There are only four for all of Confederation College and a Fort Frances student is getting one, so it’s really an honour.”
Bragg served as SUCCI co-president at the local campus. During her time in the volunteer position, she co-ordinated a number of community events, including a breakfast program and lunch-and-learn sessions with local professionals.
“She was a straight-‘A’ student all the way through her four semesters in her program and she was instrumental in ensuring that this was a really great year for all of the students,” Renaud lauded.
“Chelsea has really demonstrated a lot of initiative and leadership,” she added.
“She really goes above and beyond.”
As an active young mother to her son in Nestor Falls, Bragg admitted her successes weren’t easily achieved.
“It was hard because I got pulled in so many different directions,” she admitted.
“[But] I had so much support from the college that when I had too much going on, I could get help if I needed it.”
Although Bragg opted to pursue a criminal justice degree in Manitoba when she graduated high school, she moved home after giving birth to her now three-year-old son.
“It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me because I got to figure out what I wanted to do with my life while balancing my son and my fiancé,” she explained.
“I feel so grateful to be here.”
After spending two years at the local campus preparing for the workforce, Bragg already had secured a job working in children’s mental health.
“Within the college I was able to figure out what my passion was,” she remarked.
“It was hard seeing the end because it was so much work,” Bragg added. “But now that I am finally here, all I can think is where did the time go?”