NJC's Young Alumni of Distinction 2023

By Kienan Holash '15
Kienan is NJC's inaugural recipient of the 2023 Young Alumni of Distinction.  We had the privilege of honouring him on October 15th at Always Neuch! Alumni Gathering. Enjoy Kienan's remarks from the event below.
Thank you, everyone. And congratulations to all those being recognized tonight. Coming from Saskatchewan, I am very grateful to still be able to partake in these gatherings and be surrounded by so many impressive alumni. I find it bewildering that it has almost been a decade since my time at NJC, but it feels like I never left. To be adopted into the NJC community, I learned a new sense of belonging, not just amongst peers, but found my place and purpose in the world. 
I’d like to take the time to thank my adoptive NJC family. This community of teachers (the likes of Mary Billinghurst, Dan Martin, Jennifer MacLaughlin, Sarah Bergeron-Laliberte, Terry Reynolds, Paul Duckett, Aaron Bellamy, Bill Boyer; all inspirations to me as I pursue a career in education), the staff (I remember Lyn, Louise and Sandra with great fondness. Their dedication to creating lasting memories for their students will forever be celebrated by my classmates and me), my pension family (André and Maryam Virchaux; whom I delight in maintaining a connection with to this day), and my lifelong friends (who sent me here today, a special thanks to one of my dearest friends from NJC, who nominated me: Becca Cambridge), after all these years they are some of my closest friends. All these people allowed me to explore my place in a vibrant world, armed with an openness to new experiences, relationships, and lifelong learning. And it’s these values that inspire me every day to serve my own students and community and bring a piece of NJC to my part of the world. So thank you.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to say thanks to a great mentor and friend of mine and one of the greatest advocates for NJC I know. This man has financially supported and been a cheerleader for 10 students now to attend NJC, me being the second. Mr. Malcolm Jenkins may not be known to many here, but he is a philanthropist and community builder in my hometown of Prince Albert who has changed the lives of so many with his charity, larger than life heart, and a philosophy of making great kids exceptional. It is only fitting that I bring him up today, as this week marks his retirement at 80 years old as a Canadian Tire dealer. I have looked up to him my whole life and am lucky to call him my friend now and we often reminisce about my year abroad.  I am indebted to the man who changed my life. Thank you, Malcolm.
Thanks to Robyne and everyone else involved in this wonderful event and congratulations to those celebrating milestones today. It is an honour to be here today. I am forever grateful for NJC. Santé.
Neuchâtel Junior College offers the unique opportunity to study Canadian curriculum abroad. While living in Switzerland in a French community, students enjoy an international education through travel and experiential learning in Europe. Gap year and Grade 12  high school students gain international experience and develop independence and life skills that prepare them for university and the global workplace.

A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap