Submitted by Selkirk College
The 2021 Selkirk College Class is taking a collective step forward into a world of opportunity after months of showing resilience that required strength at an unmatched level.
Adrian Moyls, the best in class at Selkirk College, is a fitting rep for the 2021 class and knows a lot about how to master the battle for success. As a student ambassador coordinator and peer tutor, he completed two years of full-time study at the School of Health and Human Services while helping raise a two-year-old son, keeping multiple jobs, and continuing to support the extended family through difficult times. As a Métis student with a very small background, Moyls is grateful for the chance to serve as an example of remarkable post-secondary education.
“It is an incredible honor because there are so many brilliant and beautiful people attending Selkirk College programs,” says Moyls. “My friends and colleagues at Selkirk College give so much strength, brilliance and inspiration … they bring hope to this region. The easy way to be here is such a privilege, having the chance to say goodbye is a badge of honor. I am incredibly grateful and honored. “
Moyls grew up in Nelson, across the street from the Silver King campus of Selkirk College. Raised by his father, Moyls and his older brother did not enjoy the same supports and amenities as most of their friends. Through courage and determination, Moyls overcame difficulties and was a successful student after high school who played for the Nelson Leafs.
While continuing to play junior hockey, Moyls attended Selkirk College after high school, where he attended the School of University Arts and Sciences. When he turned 20, hockey ended and instead of continuing his post-secondary studies, Moyls went to Northern Alberta, where he worked as a roughneck on oil rigs.
When Moyls was 25 years old, his father suddenly died. It turned his world upside down, but newfound struggles gave him the opportunity to mentor students on the REACH alternative high school program at Nelson’s LV Rogers Secondary.
“I lost the most important person in my life in a pretty terrible way, it was traumatic and I lost motivation,” says Moyls. “It took me a while to find myself again and I helped take care of young people. I didn’t know that I would love something so much as something that I could do for a living. “
His efforts at REACH resulted in a collaboration with Freedom Quest, a Castlegar-based nonprofit that provides services and programs to youth negatively impacted by drug use in the West Kootenay and Boundary area. Knowing that he needed a formal education to influence the lives of others even more, he entered the School of Health and Human Services as a mature student looking for a path full of passion, purpose and meaning. He joins the energy to overcome adversity and completes with the class of 2021 in the child and youth welfare program and the certificate program for social workers.
“My time at Selkirk College was nothing short of transformative,” he says. “The knowledge, skills, and connections imbued with growth and development that I have experienced and gone through have become invaluable to me. I know the importance and awareness of privilege and how to truly become an ally for those facing oppression, injustice and discrimination. “
Understand more about yourself
Although his mother is Métis, Moyls was discouraged from learning more about his culture. Concerned about being bullied and disdain for his father, it wasn’t part of his identity that Moyls held onto. That changed when he arrived at Selkirk College, where he discovered deep classroom knowledge and support from indigenous ministries.
“I’ve only seen my mother a couple of times in ten years growing up,” says Moyls, adding that he is now fully connected to his mother. “I didn’t know my roots and had no idea who I was in terms of my indigenous heritage. The past two years have brought a lot of focus on indigenous peoples through my coursework and I’ve worked hard to find that side of me. Identity success is one of the things we all have to go through. As long as we don’t identify with every part of who we are, we can find that we are living a life that is not true to ourselves. “
While continuing to work for Freedom Quest, Moyls will pursue more post-secondary ambitions in September when he attends Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. After two more years of college, Moyls will earn his bachelor’s degree in social work while living in the community where his son Gage and mother live.
Ultimately, Moyls focused on working with teenagers and found the spark he needed at Selkirk College.
“When we go through life there are so many things that are out of our control,” he says. “Everyone goes their own way and I’ve been through a lot in my life, but you have to accept that. You have to look at what you can control, your next step and what you have in you. “
Selkirk College Convocation 2021 was held virtually earlier this month with 900 students completing a variety of certificate, diploma and degree programs. Moyls recorded his farewell speech on the Silver King campus in the same location where he played rollerblade, skateboard, and catch with his father. In a year that was anything but normal, Moyls speaks from the heart when he talks about overcoming.
“You will go through pain, suffering, loss, struggles, challenges, hardships … without this there is no way to get where you need to go,” he says. “If you are not challenged and tested, you cannot reach your true potential and see what you can achieve. These are challenging times so I take my hat off to what people are doing right now. There are so many things beyond our control when we give up that we can empower ourselves for what we can do. We can create a future we can live in. “
You can view the virtual ceremony of the 2021 convocation, which includes the farewell speech, at: https://selkirk.ca/admissions/enrolment-services/convocation.