Natural Resource Compliance student Matthew Henry has been named valedictorian for the Spring 2022 convocation, and he will lead the procession of graduates and speak at the ceremony planned for May 27 in the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.
Henry, who was also valedictorian of his high school class of 13 students in Treherne, Man., has a 4.0 grade point average and has been heavily involved in many college and community organizations. In March, he took some time to answer a few questions posed by our Wider Horizons team.
WIDER HORIZONS: WHY DID YOU PICK LETHBRIDGE COLLEGE?
Matthew Henry: Every single conservation officer and park warden I spoke with said to come here. If they didn’t study here themselves, they said they wish they had and that it was the best place to go in Western Canada.
WH: WHAT WAS IT LIKE STARTING POST-SECONDARY DURING A PANDEMIC?
MH: I was learning from home the first year, and that was pretty isolating. You didn’t really get the chance to spread out your wings and experience the independence. But we did come to campus that first year for experiential weeks and that helped build connections and friendships. By the time we arrived on campus last fall, I recognized everyone’s face, even if we hadn’t spoken in person before.
WH: WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PART OF THIS LAST YEAR?
MH: Interacting with classmates – whether we were working on labs in small groups, completing projects together or staying late after class to talk. Everyone is so passionate about the subject. It’s easy to get along with everyone.
WH: DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR GRADUATES OR NEW STUDENTS?
MH: I would pass along advice one of my favourite high school teachers told me, which is that when it comes to choosing a career, to not sell yourself short. Find out what you’re passionate about and chase your dreams. All of the success I’ve enjoyed is because of that passion, because I just love what I am doing. And our instructors here at the college – they have an incredible amount of passion for their work, too. They left a job they love to come to the college because they care about mentoring the next group of people who share their passion.
WH: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT REPRESENTING THE SPRING GRADUATES?
MH: What stands out most to me is a feeling of pride. I am so proud to represent the program and the college. And I can’t wait for what happens next.
During his time at the college, Henry served as a tutor, was a member of the Conservation Enforcement Club, volunteered with simulations done by the SPHERE lab for training health-care students, and gave presentations about career options to first- and third-year students in his program. In the community, he volunteered with the Helen Schuler Nature Centre and worked to revive the conservation outreach volunteer position for Natural Resource Compliance students. Henry plans to return to campus in September for two more years of study, with the goal of earning a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Conservation Enforcement.