A close up image of stuffed teddy bears wearing graduation caps and gowns, next to Sheridan logo hoodies.

In photos: Celebrating Sheridan's Class of 2024 valedictorians

Newsroom authorby Teresa BaergJun 17, 2024
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The Sheridan community was thrilled to celebrate more than 8,300 business, arts, community studies, applied health, humanities and science and technology graduates during 11 spring convocation ceremonies in early June. Each ceremony featured a valedictory address by a student from that Faculty who had the chance to speak to their classmates and share words of wisdom and inspiration. 

These are the 11 valedictorians who were chosen to represent their Faculty at their convocation ceremony. We welcome these valedictorians and their classmates to our ever-growing alumni community! 

FAAD valedictorian Li Li gives her speech on stage at convocation

Li Li graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Interaction Design from the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design. Her impressive academic accomplishments were achieved while moving her family to Canada from China during her second year and while parenting her son. “It wasn’t until I immersed myself in Sheridan’s vibrant community of Interaction Design that I discovered my calling – to become an outstanding UX designer,” Li Li said during her convocation address. Her inspiring speech reminded her fellow graduates that it’s never too late to pursue their dreams and that finding yourself is the most significant journey of all. 

FAAD valedictorian Maia Azevedo and a faculty member

Maia Azevedo graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Interior Design from the Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design. She was a Work-integrated Learning (WIL) student of the year award recipient and a nominee for the Experiential and Work-integrated Learning Ontario (EWO) award. “I believe that if we approach things from a positive mindset and put forth that energy, we will attract a positive outcome,” she said. “As we move forward in the next phase of our lives...we need to embrace both the good and the bad, and enjoy the journey.” She encouraged her classmates to lead with creativity in all their future endeavours. 

FAST valedictorian Ryley Mccafferty and Dean Elizabeth Fabbroni

Ryley Mccafferty graduated with a diploma in Mechanical Engineering Technology from the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology. He returned to postsecondary education a little later in life, after working in the welding industry for several years. “Deciding to go back to college to further my education meant taking a step or two outside my comfort zone,” he said. “It meant moving on from what was fairly familiar into something challenging and unknown.” He noted that through the education his fellow graduates earned, they also gained the ability to grow and be adaptable when facing a challenge or opportunity. 

FAST valedictorian Tara Tyler shares her speech on stage at convocation

Tara Tyler graduated with a Welding and Fabrication Technician diploma from the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology. Her success and influence in the program inspired other female students to continue their studies in the program. “Welding has led me to an environment where I find peace and contentment in my work...to a community of people who love what they do and share their knowledge,” Tara said. “It has led me to a community of people looking to change the landscape of the trades through gender diversity and inclusivity. Welding has led me to my home away from home.” 

FAHCS valedictorian Robby Persaud and Dean Michael O'Leary

Robby Persaud graduated from the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies with a diploma in Police Foundations. As a student, he participated in the Ontario Provincial Police internship program and has recently begun working with Peel Regional Police as a cadet. “Whoever you were these past two years, remain true to that person and give that person your all,” Robby advised. “Let us carry forward the lessons, friendships and memories we’ve made...our journey has just begun, and I have no doubt that each of us will make a meaningful mark on the world.” 

FAHCS valedictorian Melody Geissberger with Dean Michael O'Leary

Melody Geissberger graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences – Athletic Therapy from the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies. She is a recipient of the Robert Firth Memorial Scholarship, given to the graduating Athletic Therapy student with the highest GPA. “There are going to be good days and inevitably some not-so-good days,” she said. “We may have to take a different route to get where we want to go and think outside the box of the possibilities of what we can achieve. And when it gets overwhelming, think back to what choice you can make today, think about the positive choices that have gotten you to where you are, and use that to create the future you want.” 

PSB Dean Muthana Zouri and valedictorian Jerlin Thomas

Jerlin Thomas graduated with a diploma in Business Administration – Finance from the Pilon School of Business. She represented Sheridan at regional and national competitions where she presented social entrepreneurship projects. “While our time at Sheridan was a playground for us to grow and fail, I want to encourage everyone to not be afraid of failing or making mistakes in the world,” she advised. “As our world goes through more changes, let us take all these experiences, the good and the bad and everything in between, and let them help us to push forward...and inspire us to do our best and reach our potential.” 

PSB Dean Muthana Zouri and valedictorian Sarah Rahim

Sarah Rahim graduated from the Pilon School of Business with an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration – Accounting degree. She is the first person in her family to pursue a degree, and she hopes to inspire others to also pursue postsecondary education. “All of us overcame so much to graduate – as individuals and together as a group,” Rahim said. “We have been through it all. Whether it was solving math equations at midnight or consoling one another in the group chat after a challenging exam, we could always rely on each other.” She is deeply grateful to the PSB community who went out of their way to help students succeed. 

PSB valedictorian Roopam Jain gives his speech on stage at convocation

Roopam Jain graduated from the Advertising – Account Management program in the Pilon School of Business, his second consecutive graduate certificate. He was president of Sheridan’s Pride Club and a student representative on the Building Positive Spaces committee. He recalls the excitement and fear he felt as an international student, away from everyone and everything he knew. “But I knew that I came to Sheridan and Canada for a reason: the opportunity it offered for me to be me, and to grow and become the person that I knew I could be,” he shared. When he doubts himself or wonders whether he belongs, he remembers the wisdom of a friend who said to never let anyone dim the light that shines inside. 

PSB Dean Muthana Zouri and valedictorian Monica Carbajal Bermeo

Monica Bermeo graduated with a certificate in Human Resources Management from the Pilon School of Business. She balanced her studies with the responsibilities of her family, her role as a peer mentor and her volunteering off-campus. “We are fortunate to have been given [the right] kind of environment at Sheridan,” Bermeo said. “Now, it’s time for us to go out there and be the leaders who can do remarkable things and...who allow others to do things even more remarkable than we can.” Success is not a goal to be achieved, but rather the result of diligent work, discipline, resilience, integrity and having the heart to help others along the way. 

FHASS Dean Genevieve Amaral and valedictorian Asmaa Al Refai

Asmaa Al Refai graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences with a graduate certificate in Applied Creativity and Innovation. She created positive impact through the development of a Newcomers’ Legal Empowerment platform, inspired by her own experiences navigating a new legal system as a refugee to Canada. To her fellow graduates, she says, “You may not yet know what to do after graduation, but you can certainly decide who you want to be. Compete only with your past self – whether that’s who you were last year, three months ago, or even last week. By doing so, you’ll see continuous improvement throughout your journey.” You must be willing to step outside your comfort zone to find your hidden treasures.




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