Wider Horizons

We have had a lot of fun working on this, the Lethbridge issue of Wider Horizons. Lisa KozleskiI am especially excited about our cover story featuring the lives and experiences of two soon-to-be graduates, John Manyok and Samuel Mathon.

John and Sam came to the college as mature students looking for post-secondary education to open doors to new opportunities, as so many students do. However, John and Sam’s experiences before coming to the college set them apart. They are some of the “Lost Boys of the Sudan,” a term used to describe the 26,000+ young boys who left or were taken from their homes in southern Sudan to train as soldiers in what would end up being a 22-year-long civil war. The details of their journey from the time they left their villages at the age of nine or 10 until they arrived at the convocation stage nearly three decades later can be found starting on page 6.

As I had the pleasure of talking in January and February with Sam, John, their instructors and a few other Lost Boys who have attended the college over the years, I was filled with a lot of different emotions. I felt such admiration for the discipline, courage, good humour and resilience Sam and John displayed over the years, and I was also filled with an incredible sense of pride. I was proud of Canada for welcoming them as refugees and giving them a safe haven after a coming-of-age that was filled with violence and heartbreak. And I was proud of the college, for its role in providing first the ESL and Upgrading courses they needed to get started, and then the General Studies program that would allow them to move beyond manual labour to professional careers where they can give back to their community.

This is a true Lethbridge and Lethbridge College story. And I look forward to seeing it play out again with the recent arrival of Syrian refugees in our community who have, like John and Sam, come to Canada looking both for safety and opportunity.

As Scott Lehbauer, the college’s chair of Developmental Education and the English Language Centre, explained to me, there are many amazing stories like John’s and Sam’s on campus. The English Language Centre served 452 students from 49 countries this past year – and more than 300 of them are in a government program that includes refugees, newly-landed immigrants and permanent residents. According to their stats, more than 90 per cent of them plan to continue with their postsecondary education.

Also in this issue, you may notice the name of a new writer – Meagan Williams. She is a talented second-year student in the college’s Digital Communications and Media program who has been doing her practicum with the Communications department of the college. While we know Meagan, like so many college students who take part in practicum experiences, will benefit from the hands-on learning that has happened this semester, our department has also benefitted from her enthusiasm, her big ideas and her passion for great stories.

Meagan, John, Sam and all soon-to-be Lethbridge College grads – we wish you all the best of luck after graduation and, as we like to say, welcome to your future.

Wider Horizons
Lisa Kozleski
Original Publication Date: