Seventy-one graduates of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology received their degrees and diplomas on May 16 at the Merritt Civic Centre at a ceremony attended by the NVIT elders, MLA elect Jackie Tegart, Mayor Susan Roline, and graduates’ friends and families. Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo attended the luncheon before the graduation ceremony.

“Your success is our success,” Merritt Mayor Susan Roline said in her speech to the graduates.

Nooaitch Indian Band chief Joyce Sam ­- a graduate of the first NVIT class – recounted the school’s humble beginnings from the administration building of the Lower Nicola Indian Band 30 years ago.

The school’s roughly 1,500 students represent over 60 per cent of the First Nations in B.C.

NVIT President Ken Tourand commended the graduates on their years of hard work, and said the school is open for registration for the next slate of courses beginning in the fall.