Cape Breton University student Evan MacNeil was born and raised in the small community of Mill Creek, Cape Breton. After completing his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2017 Evan’s passion for teaching called him to enrol in the Bachelor of Education program at CBU. Now, after several years of hard work and dedication, Evan will be representing his graduating class as Valedictorian for the 2019 Fall Convocation.
Despite considering himself a naturally shy person, Evan is excited to present his speech during the convocation ceremony. “I always tell people just show up and do it,” Evan explains. “It’s my advice to others so I have to embody it myself.” He hopes his speech will inspire his fellow graduates to continue striving toward greatness through continual improvement.
It is this drive toward improvement that carried Evan through his educational journey, developing his interests and goals along the way. Evan says the professors at CBU were there for him every step of the way, opening his eyes to various opportunities and experiences. “What stands out about the Education program at CBU is definitely the professors,” Evan shares. “They offer a variety of personalities and teaching backgrounds that provide students with a barrel of knowledge to pull from.” Evan also says the opportunities to tutor and begin teaching as a substitute just two months after finishing his classes in July were a valuable hands-on introduction to the field of education.
In preparing his speech, Evan has spent plenty of time reflecting fondly on his journey at CBU and the memories he made along the way. One standout memory took place during a communications class taught by professor Michael MacDonald. A huge movie buff, Evan was thrilled to be in a class that allowed him to partner with a friend to create an indie film. “Making that video was one of my favourite experiences,” says Evan. “It was so much fun shooting the film around campus and doing something I’m passionate about. That opportunity to explore your passions is something a lot of the courses here at CBU offer.”
Classes won’t be the only thing Evan will miss about CBU, to him, it’s the simple feeling of being a CBU student that he is hesitant to give up. “I’ll miss the environment of CBU itself. There’s something about the colours and how vibrant CBU is, especially in the fall,” says Evan. “And I’ll miss the professors and instructors who made learning fun. That’s what I want to reflect in my own teaching.”
Now that Evan’s time at CBU comes to a close he says he feels prepared, both professionally and personally for the future, thanks to his studies. “My time at CBU really helped me with my people skills, especially as someone who has always been kind of shy and nervous,” he says. “Those skills have absolutely prepared me for the outside world.”
To those considering coming to CBU, Evan says an astounding “definitely go.” His advice is to take the time to visit the campus and speak to current students about their experiences. “No matter what your interests are,” says Evan. “CBU will have something to offer you.”
In the end, Evan says he wouldn’t change a thing about his journey at CBU and says graduating as Valedictorian is the perfect way to wrap it up. “I never thought in a million years that I would be valedictorian, but here I am,” he says. “I am very lucky to be here and I’m so happy to be representing such hard-working students. I couldn’t have picked a better school and I will always advocate for people to come to CBU.”