Next Up Edmonton 8 wrapped up the year with a fun and heartfelt ceremony on May 17th. We were joined by friends and family of the participants, alumni, presenters, Advisory Committee members, and funders. It was an excellent opportunity to connect as a community and come together to support the new cohort as they made the shift from participants to alumni.
Our excellent event organizers and MC’s Christina Hardie and Damien Lechat (both alumni of NU7) led us through a night of honouring each other and celebrating a transformative year.
Participants shared touching and powerful speeches about their time in Next Up. A theme that emerged over the evening was that “the lessons were in the people,” as the cohort shared how much they learned from each other and how much they valued the relationships they built this year. There were tears, as well as laughter, as folks got creative with poems and cyphers to express their experiences. As always, the presenting of certificates to each other was a highlight of the night and showed how much this group cares for each other and has grown together.
The event was once again held at The Almanac on Whyte Ave, which happily welcomed us. This year we were treated to songs from our musical guests. Musician Jesse Cunningham rocked the ukulele and taught us a bit about the adventures of the time signatures in Métis music. Sebastian Barrera spoke to us about the power of artists and played us revolutionary songs from Chile and Brazil, as well as one written here in Edmonton by youth who live in the inner city. The music was an amazing addition to the program and we are thankful to our alumni organizers for making it happen!
The night wrapped up with the cohort presenting a lovely thank you gift to the coordinator and a huge group hug.
Graduation certainly lived up to the group’s hashtag. It was a great event and everyone was #st8ked to celebrate with this crew of amazing humans.