Valedictorian Changes Storyline of Success

Get to Know Selkirk College Class of 2020 Shining Stars


Representing the Selkirk College Class of 2020 as valedictorian is an honour Emily Kantymir never would have expected when she embarked on her nursing studies, but it’s completely fitting given her commitment to serving others.

A graduate of the four-year Bachelor of Nursing Program, Kantymir’s decision to pursue post-secondary studies came after a chat with a colleague while working an overnight shift at a Nelson homeless shelter. As a co-parent to a young son, she was looking for a fulfilling career with a solid future both professionally and financially. Nursing seemed like it could be a good fit, but she hadn’t been in school for almost two decades.

Valedictorian Emily

Emily Kantymir graduated from the Bachelor of Nursing Program at Selkirk College and her leadership was recognized when she was chosen as one of two valedictorians for the Class of 2020.

While Kantymir had plenty of life experience, having traveled extensively in her 20s and 30s, she had never undertaken post-secondary studies. Ultimately, Kantymir enrolled in Selkirk College’s Academic Upgrading Program, where she rediscovered a passion for formal education.

“I loved school,” says Kantymir, who turned 40 earlier this year. “I loved being in the classroom, my instructors were amazing.”

In April, Kantymir graduated from the BSN degree program at the Castlegar Campus with straight-As and was a leader in her cohort. With her leadership work both on-campus and in the community, Kantymir’s name was put forward by faculty to be one of two valedictorians to represent the Class of 2020. 

“When my instructor told me that I was nominated, I was blown away,” she says. “I put my all into school over the last four years and I felt valued by the faculty who saw that dedication. The sacrifices I made had been worth it on many levels.”

Read the entire story on Emily at

Read the entire story on valedictorian Kim Pham at

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