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MHC announces convocation award winners

June 9, 2020

Convocation tradition at Medicine Hat College (MHC) includes the recognition of deserving students, faculty members and community leaders. While the formal presentation of the 2020 Student of the Year, Governor General Academic Medal, Instructor of the Year, and Honorary Applied Degree awards has been deferred until convocation ceremonies in June 2021, Medicine Hat College is pleased to announce this year’s recipients.

One student is recognized at convocation annually, having demonstrated exceptional academic standing and contributed significantly to the cultural, social or recreational life of MHC. Known for his inspiring work ethic, positive attitude, and commitment to college and community service, Tyler Cassell was named MHC’s Student of the Year.

As a university transfer science student, Cassell served as co-president of the Science and Engineering Undergraduate Society, promoting science and supporting the student experience on campus. He also shared his talent for science by tutoring first year students. In the community, Cassell also kept busy, volunteering his time with St. John’s Ambulance and regional science fair activities. Now at the end of his MHC journey, Cassell plans to pursue a career in medicine and will transfer to the University of Alberta this fall.

Nursing instructor Una Weich received the 2020 Instructor of the Year Award in recognition of her teaching expertise and caring commitment for students. As an educator, Weich encourages self-care and models those behaviours for her students, believing that by caring for ourselves we are better equipped to provide care for others.

Weich attended the Registered Nurse program at Foothills School of Nursing, obtained her Bachelor of Nursing from the University of Lethbridge, and went on to complete her Masters in Health Education at the University of Saskatchewan.

Described as someone who instills confidence and a sense of purpose in her students, Weich inspires learners to strive for excellence and approach academics with optimism, enthusiasm and open arms.

This year’s recipient of the historic Governor General’s Academic Medal is Cassie Melenka, a graduate of the practical nurse program. The medal was created in 1873 to encourage academic excellence across the nation. It is awarded to the student who receives the highest overall average upon graduation.

Originally from a small town and farming community in central Alberta, Melenka knew her passion and interests lay within rural health. After a short time attending post-secondary in Edmonton and coming to the realization that the big city was not the right fit, Melenka chose MHC’s Brooks Campus to pursue her career in nursing.

Time spent with her dad working on the family farm instilled a hard work ethic in Melenka, a characteristic she applied to her studies that led to her achieving academic excellence. Her competitive nature, not against her peers but of continually pushing herself to do better, allowed Melenka to finish at the top of MHCs 2020 graduating class.

MHC’s final convocation award recognizes a community leader who has distinguished themselves through exemplary service to the college and/or the region.

David J. Carter has been selected as this year’s Honorary Applied Degree award recipient. Described as a brilliant leader in religious and social affairs, as well as a well-known politician, clergyman, social activist, and author, Carter has committed his life to serving his communities.

Carter was ordained as a Deacon and Priest at St. John’s Anglican Cathedral in Winnipeg in the early 1960s and was later appointed the youngest Dean of the Anglican Church in the world. He went on to serve his faith in many ways, from filling the role of chaplain at various post-secondary institutions, to building and restoring a number of places of worship and senior citizens facilities over the years.

In 1979, Carter made his way into politics and was elected as MLA for Calgary Millican. He served as an MLA for a number of years before and after being twice selected as a Speaker of the Legislature, a position he held until his retirement in 1993. Upon retirement, Carter and his wife settled down in the Cypress Hills region where he worked with others to restore St. Margaret’s Church and Cemetery near Elkwater.