House of red: Fanshawe College grads and families pack Budweiser Gardens

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On Monday, Fanshawe College had its first in-person graduation since 2019.

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On Monday, Fanshawe College had its first in-person graduation since 2019. In another first, school officials hosted the afternoon ceremony at a location best known for goals and performers from the London Knights such as KISS – downtown Budweiser Gardens.

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Some of the graduates who came together, like Joshua Lima, 20, from Cambridge, were just happy to be among their classmates.

“Honestly, I think it’s great because it’s in person,” Lima said of the idea of ​​graduating from the arena.

And how did Lima feel about receiving his graduate certificate in policing? “Honestly, I don’t have words for it. It’s such a great feeling,” he said, moments later, adding that he had an “excited, nervous-type feeling” .

Hunter Twigg, a 19-year-old from Chatham, has done the majority of her two-year police foundations program virtually because of COVID restrictions. “It’s been honestly two quick years,” she said.

Twigg thinks it was a good idea to have the ceremony at Budweiser Gardens. “And with COVID, they might scatter us,” she said. Participants were required to wear masks when attending the ceremony.

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Twigg was accompanied by her family. “The Gardens is a beautiful facility, it’s a first class facility,” said his father, Brad Twigg. Braden, the new grad’s brother, played hockey several times at the Bud as a member of the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs. The Twiggs therefore know the building well.

New to the arena was Myra Cole, 20, of Kitchener, also a police foundation graduate.

“I’ve never been here, but I like it because it’s in person,” she said. When Cole graduated from high school, she didn’t have a graduation ceremony because of the pandemic, which made Monday’s ceremony even more meaningful, she said.

Inside the building, a table was set with flowers that the proud parents could buy for their children. There was also a table with Fanshawe-branded merchandise, including mugs, water bottles, baseball caps, ties and hoodies. Perhaps the cutest trinket on offer was a stuffed black and red hawk carrying a miniature mortar board.

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Around 3:15 p.m., the college motorcade was led into the hall by a piper, with graduates in bright red gowns and professors in black.

A low stage was set up at one end of what would normally be the ice surface. Family and friends filled spectator seats, and the electronic banner ringing in the stadium flashed the message, Congratulations Class of 2022.

About 7,000 students will graduate between Monday and Wednesday, the school said.

Fanshawe is one of Ontario’s largest community colleges, with multiple campuses in southwestern Ontario, including one in downtown London, and satellite operations in communities such as Simcoe, St. Thomas and Woodstock.

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