Niagara College convocation speaker: ‘Turn adversity into opportunity’

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Published November 10, 2021 at 4:16 pm

Niagara College’s 2021 convocation guest speaker, Randell Adjei, had some pearls of wisdom to share with more than 1,000 graduates, knowing they had faced some big challenges during a school-year where everything was learned online due to COVID-19 restriction.

You see, as a black man, Ontario’s first Poet Laureate, has himself had a lifetime of adversity. So it became his job to tell the graduates how not to let that stop them, how to harness it and how to grow from it.

“Sometimes we are buried into the darkness. Sometimes we are going to question, ‘why is this happening to me?’,” said Adjei told the students in the virtual livestream convocation held from Welland Campus.

“Sometimes we are going to feel like victims but, I can reassure you, that you are being given an opportunity to grow,” he said. “You are transforming. You are evolving and blooming to become your best self.”

“See adversity as a seed of opportunity,” he said, explaining that adversity lead him not only to write as a form of self-expression but to form RISE Edutainment (Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere) to help GTA youth express themselves creatively through performance arts.

Adjei was appointed Poet Laureate in April – a provincial position established in memory of Canadian singer-songwriter Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip.

(Photo is Ontario’s first Poet Laureate Randell Adjei addresses NC’s Fall 2021 graduates during a video message played during the livestream ceremonies as President Sean Kennedy and VP Academic Fiona Allan watch from the Welland Campus.)

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