In their own graduation ceremony, the Ponoka Air Cadets 65th Squadron celebrated advancement of its members as they level up in their training and some graduate out of the program.
The annual Ceremonial Review took place June 14 at the Ponoka Curling rink. It was marked with a number of awards given to the dedicated, hardworking cadets.
Rebecca Nicholson, Warrant Officer Second Class (WO2), was one of the cadets who has aged out of the program and she gave a speech to her fellow cadets on the benefits she has felt growing up in the program. “These past seven years have flown by so fast. I can pretty much remember my first year as if it was last week. I was a shy little girl that had not a lot of self-confidence.”
Nicholson credits the program to bringing her out of her shell and shaping her into the person she is. Along with the opportunity to make friends, she says members of the squadron has supported her throughout her life.
“So level ones, stick with this. Seriously, you can go so far and do so many things,” said Nicholson.
“Joining Air Cadets, best experience I’ve ever had, greatest decision I’ve ever made in my life,” she added.
High school graduate and WO1 Clinton Rodney also took to the podium to grace the cadets with a few words of wisdom.
“Having a good, long cadet career is like the movement of a piston in an engine. There will be ups and downs.”
Also graduating from the program, Clinton feels Air Cadets has taught him how one respects and presents themselves to the world still goes a long way in the impression they leave. “You can do anything you set your mind to. You can choose to stall out or you can choose to open up that throttle.”
As grateful the cadets are for their Commanding Officer and other staff, they are just as proud of the cadets. “I love that we are a great big family here and everyone really looks out for each other,” said Commanding Officer Cpt. Tracy Fiedler.
“In addition to our regular training programs we had awesome representation for all the other activities offered to cadets,” she added.
At the ceremony it was announced that Rodney was selected for a scholarship to International Exchange United Kingdom, WO2 Kelly Fiedler was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Ponoka squadron was named the top Air Cadet Squadron in central Alberta.