Alumna Aims Spotlight on Lifelong Learning

Sharon McNeill Honoured as Selkirk College Distinguished Alumna


When Sharon McNeill decided to return to learning at Selkirk College’s Nakusp Campus, the goal for the mother of six children was to simply finish the high school diploma that had eluded her while growing up in residential schools.

It was 1986 when McNeill’s youngest son had just entered Grade 1. She was 36 at the time and though she had been educated as a Licenced Practical Nurse, her education was accomplished without requiring a high school diploma. In order to show her children a proper example, McNeill set a modest goal of high school completion that eventually led her to graduating from law school at the University of British Columbia. 

Sharon McNeill alumna

“I walked up those very steep steps to the top of old Selkirk College campus building in downtown Nakusp,” says McNeill, who was recognized as a Selkirk College Distinguished Alumna at the Graduation 2018 Ceremony in April. “When I got to the top of the stairs, I met [now-retired Adult Upgrading instructor] Richard Allin. I will never forget that first meeting because he is really one of the loveliest guys you can meet. He was so kind and the striking thing about him was that he had no judgement at all, by that I mean that he was not given to prejudice. He believed in you without reservations.”

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