|Jonathan Kuzek - 2018 Lloydminster Campus|
Instead of following the crowd, Jonathan Kuzek took charge of his Lakeland College experience with his father’s words in mind.
“I was always told by my dad if you aren’t a leader you’re a follower, so at Lakeland being a leader was important to me. I took the initiative to stand up, make the right calls and take on responsibility,” Kuzek says.
The heavy oil power engineering graduate displayed great leadership and college involvement during his time at Lakeland. He mentored classmates and peers; looked after the Lloydminster campus heating plants and energy labs beyond his program; was an ambassador for his program during program info sessions; and was known to lead by example, be a problem-solver, and always had a positive attitude.
Outside of his studies, he was the marketing and event coordinator for the 2017-18 Lloydminster Students’ Association and helped plan various events at the Prairies on campus.
Being a leader was second nature for Kuzek. It was because of his academic excellence and outstanding leadership abilities that he received the 2018 President’s Medal upon graduation.
“It's quite an honour to receive the highest honour a student can get. It’s quite the experience to be the only student on the Lloydminster campus to receive it,” Kuzek says.
During his final academic year, Kuzek was the recipient of numerous scholarships and bursaries including the Centennial Energy & Petroleum Achievement Award, Lloydminster Students' Association Bursary, Kasian Architecture General Award, and Saskatchewan Innovation & Opportunity Scholarship.
To sum up his time at Lakeland, Kuzek says it was the people who made it all worthwhile.
“The amazing people I met this year are one of a kind. They all gave me an experience that can't be duplicated. Attending Lakeland was so nice because you can easily have a personal relationship with almost everyone including instructors.”
|Graham Letts - 2018 Vermilion campus|
Taking complete advantage of everything Lakeland College has to offer was Graham Letts’ goal. The crop technology graduate not only achieved this goal before graduating on June 1, but was also recognized as the 2018 Vermilion campus President’s Medal recipient for his leadership and involvement.
“There’s only one student on the whole campus to receive the award, so I feel pretty privileged and honoured,” says Letts, of Westlock, Alta. “I really enjoyed the whole student-managed aspect of Lakeland College. Having that practical experience, I think that’s an excellent model for learning.”
Letts immersed himself in the Student-Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland (SMF); he successfully applied for the general manager position of the crop technology team and describes the experiences as invaluable.
“You get to jump into operations with your peers and it’s completely hands-on. With a team of 38 students, things don’t always run peachy keen,” Letts says with a laugh. “But this experience gives you the opportunity to learn from your successes and mistakes.”
One of the highlights of Letts’ Lakeland experience was being able to experiment with new crops. “On the family farm you tend to stick to traditional farming practices, but when you come to Lakeland you have the opportunity to leverage the industry and try something out of the box,” he says.
This year the SMF crop team designed a soybean soil temperature trial and tried a cocktail brassica radish grazing mix.
Making strong connections with his classmates proved to be another highlight for Letts. “Every one of us has a different perspective so being able to facilitate discussion with classmates, hear everyone’s opinions and try to make it welcoming for all was key.”
Letts’ hard work paid off at Lakeland. During the 2017-18 donor appreciation celebration, he received eight awards: Alberta Wheat Commission Scholarship in Crop Technology, Louise McKinney Post-Secondary Scholarship, Beaton Family Agricultural Bursary, ARAMARK Canada Ltd. Award, New Holland Agriculture Award, The Leonard and Mary Burton Farm Management Award, Growing Alberta Scholarship, and the Ron and Faith Kenyon Academic Award.
As a generational alumnus, Letts is happy to share his Lakeland experience with his grandfather, Park Letts, Class of 1955. “It’s pretty special to have this connection. He came back to the college for my final SMF presentation and took a tour of campus – it blew his mind how much Lakeland has grown and changed.”
Outside of class, the father of one assisted with the Tractor Club races during Little Royal, volunteered with a youth summer camp and was active with his church.
Reflecting on his Lakeland experience, Letts encourages future Lakeland students to capitalize on what the college has to offer. “Take full advantage of every opportunity you have at college to expand your knowledge, make contacts and network with classmates,” he says. “Connect with your instructors; they’re an invaluable resource that you would pay big dollars outside of school for one-on-one consultation with.”
|President's Medal Winners|