sait100@sait.ca           Thank-you to our presenting sponsor PepsiCo Canada

#SAITSTORY

In celebration of 100 years, we're sharing stories about the people who have shaped SAIT throughout our first century.
 What’s your #SAITstory? If you have a special memory or connection to SAIT, we want to hear about it. Tell us your story.

#SAITstory:  “When I applied to SAIT in 2007, I didn’t know anxiety and depression were about to pull life out from underneath me. By the time I first set foot on campus in 2008, I was almost fully consumed in a battle with both. I still don’t know how I made it to class every day during those first few months. 

But there were people — my instructors and peers — who cared about my success and inspired me with their passion and experience. They believed in me. And so, eventually, I started to believe in myself. I graduated with honours and went on to study film and video in France and Vancouver before heading into my career.

By the time I returned to SAIT in 2015 to join the SAIT Centennial Project team, I had taken steps to heal. My struggle with mental illness is still very real, but I have learned how to better manage the symptoms and, in fact, thrive in spite of them. 

The impact this place and its people had on my life never left me. 

Then I was tasked with #SAITstory – finding and sharing the stories of people from throughout SAIT’s first century. I knew I wasn’t the only person whose life trajectory had been beautifully interrupted by this place. And this wonderful series has given me a front-row seat to stories of survival, transformation, hilarity and hope. Some stories I stumbled on by accident, some I sought out and others were contributed by my current and former colleagues Sophy Gray, Nicole Ingwersen, Cyla Panin and Nicole Carrington. Together, this collection celebrates the greatest reason this place is so special: its people.  

And so, I leave you with the last #SAITstory post of the centennial series ― a small piece of my own story ― and with my sincere gratitude to those who participated. Thank you for your memories, vulnerability and truth.”

Ashley Naud, Content Specialist, SAIT Centennial Project | Journalism ‘10

Editor’s note: This is not the end of #SAITstory! The series will take on a new life beginning Sept. 2017. Until then, we invite you to keep it going by share your own #SAITstory. Use the hashtag on Instagram, Twitter or post to SAIT on Facebook

 

#SAITstory: “SAIT’s centennial program was so massive in scale and scope that sometimes it seemed quite daunting. 

When I first walked into SAIT there were some project priorities and a bit of a framework of ideas in place. From there, our strategy and budget needed to be developed and we needed a project team. There were stakeholders to be engaged, time capsules to be opened and a whole year of celebrations ― not to mention our centennial weekend ― that needed to be imagined. These were all things that had never been done here before. 

I’ve been consulting for 10 years and worked with many organizations, but I can tell you SAIT’s centennial has been my favourite experience ever. I think the most meaningful piece for me was “discovering” Clarence Hollingworth, our 102-year-old alumnus and former instructor ― he is my favourite story. He is pretty much SAIT’s history walking around in one guy. So he’s SAIT’s treasure but he’s also become my friend. I could have been worried night and day about this project. Strangely enough, Clarence gave me a lot stability to know that it’ll be alright. That was completely unexpected. 

I’ll wrap up this project knowing I helped make SAIT proud of its history, its celebratory year was a success and its future looks bright.  I will always be proud of this work ― it has truly been my honour. It felt like three years of flat-out running, but look what we’ve achieved. ”

Cathy Downey, Director, SAIT Centennial Project

 

“I was one of the founding members and a Senior Medical Research Technologist for U of C’s Faculty of Medicine for 29 years. When I was working in the Foothills Hospital I heard the same story over and over again from people who were sick, and some of whom were dying ― they wished they had lived their lives differently and cared less about how much money they made. They’d say, ‘I have this whole bank account of money that me and my wife had plans for when we retired. Now, look at me. I can’t enjoy it.’

You’ve got to discover what is important to you. When you reach the end of your life, can you look back on everything you’ve done and say, ‘I’ve lived a good life and I’ve left the world a better place than when I came into it.’ My advice is, education is key. Find a career that you are passionate about and that you love and don’t worry so much about how much it pays.  I think I finally learned this in my 50s.

It was around the time I did my first triathlon. Finishing my first Ironman Triathlon was an incredible thing because I was a total nerd athletically in junior high and high school ― I was always the last person to be picked for a team. If I played baseball, I wanted to be way out in field, like, ‘Don’t ever throw the ball to me.’ I was totally useless in sports. But it’s a passion for me now ― lifelong health and wellness, fitness and stuff like that. 

I have been a big fan of #SAIT Trojans athletics program for a long time and I have met a lot of the student participants. I know they’re all great kids. I also know it’s difficult for students to make ends meet these days. I thought for a long time about how I could support them and, one day I was out for a run in SAIT’s Cohos Commons field and it dawned on me. A legacy gift was the way to go and I just decided ‘I’m going to do this.’”

Terrance Malkinson, SAIT Legacy Donor | Bachelor of Applied Information Systems Technology ’01 | Information Technology Professional Certificate ’98

It’s actually been during my time here at SAIT that I’ve learned to openly embrace my past. That’s allowed me to get to where I am now.

I had come from being uneducated, dealing with mental health issues and a stint of homelessness ― overcoming all of that, I finally started to get myself back on track. I got a job in the oil field and was there for nine years. 

I think the big moment for me was when I got laid off. I was 29 … I asked myself, ‘Okay, what are you doing in your life? Are you going to do nothing and waste all of your talents or are you going to utilize them and truly show everyone you have the potential they’ve been saying you’ve had your entire life?’

Fortunately, I got into SAIT’s Skills Investment Program. It was an opportunity to apply myself and see what I could have done in high school had I actually finished. Before I knew it I was get A’s. Then I got into the Petroleum Engineering Technology Program and wanted to continue that trend. 

I completed my first year with a 4.0, and then, in my second year I was elected as the SAITSA Petroleum Society President, Society of Petroleum Engineers – SAIT Chapter President and co-founder and vice president of Women in Science and Engineering Club. 

I now know where I am going to go and the things I need to do in order to execute my goals … I have an outlook of nothing is worse than not knowing what you’re going to eat for the next couple of days or not having a roof over your head. You’ve got to take advantage of everyday. 

Tyler Kobayashi, Petroleum Engineering Technology ’17 | Spring 2017 Valedictorian | 2016/17 President, SAITSA Petroleum Society | 2016/17 President, Society of Petroleum Engineers – SAIT Chapter | Co-founder, Women in Science and Engineering Club

 

“I think being part of the SAIT centennial project happened at a perfect time in my career. It’s brought me back to my roots and made me appreciate the journey to get where I am today. It’s made me appreciate my history, because without that I can’t move forward. 

Before SAIT, most of my graphic design career had been in ad agency settings, which are fast paced, competitive and can be creatively draining … you burn out. I felt like was always solving someone else’s communications problem ― I wanted something creative that was just for me. 

So I started playing and creating with glass in 2010 as a way to recharge. It has allowed me to connect in with my creative side away from technology. For me, the computer is associated with my day job ― and I love it ― but I need to put it aside at 5 o’clock. I’ve learned I have to disconnect in order to recharge. 

I like the complete difference in processes for the two mediums. Being able to think in a different way helps me to consider new approaches to my work in both mediums.”

Michelle Atkinson, New Media Production and Design ’03 | Graphic Artist, SAIT Centennial Project | Glass artist, Jewelnotes 

Editor’s note: Michelle was the creative visionary and talent behind SAIT’s centennial web and print materials. The giant banners that hang on the outside of Heritage Hall and pole banners around campus, our centennial program and the #SAIT100 Photo Mosaic graphic are just a few examples of her work.

 

#SAITstory: “The Boy Scouts wanted to break the world record for most amount of popcorn popped at the Calgary Zoo in 2007. They came to SAIT and asked if any department would like to take it on ... It intrigued me because I’ve always liked a challenge. Tight timelines and high stress ― it’s kind of an adrenaline rush for me.

We built three industry-sized popcorn poppers and a conveyor and we loaded the popcorn into a large granary at the zoo.  It could pop a five-gallon garbage can full of popcorn in a minute-and-a-half, I think. We didn’t break the record, but we were close.  Well, we weren’t that close, but we had a lot of fun doing it.

I’ve been involved in a few different projects around SAIT and I really enjoy doing them. Helping to build the time capsule was an opportunity. It took me away from the office, I got to get dirty and I got to go build something. It didn’t really matter what it was or the legacy it leaves behind – that’s all secondary to me – it was the chance to do something different. 

It was really the people part I enjoyed most – that will be the memory for me.”

George Rhodes, Academic Chair, School of Manufacturing and Automation | SAIT Centennial Time Capsule Committee | Welding ‘82

Editor’s note: George is part of the very skilled and talented team of SAIT staff and faculty that planned and built our centennial time capsule. The time capsule will be placed in the ground on June 5 at 11 am in front of Heritage Hall. We will also reveal a new piece of art created by alumnus Michael Perks at 1:30 pm

 

“A favourite part of my job is to show students their father or mother in a yearbook from 50 years ago, or to show them the tools their grandfather worked with in the 30s. To watch their face light up and know they are part of something bigger at SAIT is so great. 

When I first started working here, I didn’t know a lot about SAIT‘s history. You know that it’s that big building on the hill, but what do they do there and what happened there?

Within my first month, I started to learn this place has such a deep and rich history. There are so many characters and unique stories on campus that really give life to this institution. When I walk through the doors of Heritage Hall every morning, I can see and hear the stories of people who have walked those halls for nearly 100 years.

For an archivist to be part of a centennial celebration is a career highlight ― it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity ― and it has been my honour to be part of this celebration for SAIT.

I’m excited to see the 2016 Time Capsule go into the ground. In 100 years, I won’t be there, my kids won’t be there, but there’s a good chance my grandkids will be able to see it come out of the ground. To know they’re going to be able to have a connection to SAIT from something we are doing today, it’s phenomenal.”

Karly Sawatzky, SAIT Archivist

Editor’s note: Karly is currently in the process of carefully preparing and packing all items going into SAIT’s 2016 Time Capsule to ensure they will last 100 years. Find out what’s going in and watch us place the capsule into the ground on June 5, at 11 am, by the front steps of Heritage Hall .

 

“In a strange way SAIT prepared me for the ambiguity of media and the arts. A lot of it is self-starting. That was something I was uncomfortable with ― freelancing and pitching ideas. But now, it’s all that I do. 

I still have my toes in the print media game. But somehow life happens and I ended up in radio. It just kind of fell into my lap, which I’m really lucky and grateful for every day.

The hardest part is keeping fresh … but that’s also the whole job and the most fun ― it’s the part that I get the most out of. Even compared to when I started a year ago, I know 100% more music than I did before. 

I try to use my platform to do my part in increasing representation and get other people to think about it as well. I try to represent for women and speak up, take up space and be loud about it. I have always said that I’m super lucky, grateful and privileged to have a microphone here (CKUA), at CJSW and in my band. For some reason people listen to the things I say, so I try not to take that for granted.”

Hayley Muir, SAIT alumna, Journalism ’07 | Radio DJ, CKUA (The Spot) and CJSW (Dixie Fried) | Lead vocalist, The Shiverettes | Co-founder, Femme Wave: Calgary’s Feminist Music and Arts Festival | Production, BeatRoute AB edition

Editor’s note:  Read more about Hayley and the childhood experience that continues to influence her approach to work and music today.

 

“I drew a lot growing up. It was always the one thing I was really good at. 

When I was in junior high school, career counselling told me I wasn’t a good fit for university. Just based on the way I was at the time, they suggested I find a career that wouldn’t require academic work. So I didn’t consider the university stream in high school. When I graduated, I worked as a labourer, framed houses, and did concrete work. As I started doing that, I got really interested in how the design process worked. 

I began my post-secondary education taking a course at SAIT called blueprint reading. I also began upgrading high school and gained entrance to Red Deer College to take an art and design diploma. Once I got in the door, I was very keen and graduated at the top of my class. So then I obtained a Bachelor of Design in Industrial Design at the University of Alberta. 

I eventually came back to SAIT as an instructor and have since finished my Master’s Degree in Environmental Design. So now I’ve come full circle doing what I really love ― teaching in the Mechanical Engineering Technology program and working on inspiring projects like the 100-year time capsule. 

I tell my students, “Follow your passion and you’ll find a great career doing what you love.” That is what is most important.

Greg Ball, SAIT instructor, School of Manufacturing and Automation | 2016 Time Capsule Team

 

“I’m the son of Italian immigrants. My mom and dad came here in 1952. They didn’t know each other ― they were teenagers who came here on work visas for CP Rail to work on the trains. They met each other, ipso facto, I was born.

So I’m working stock. I worked on the railway myself. I lied about my age at 16 to go pound spikes in the summer to make a couple of grand to buy a car but also to help out at home, and I’m proud of that ― extremely. I was barely getting by in high school because I was working full time at a grocery store on the night shift to make a couple of bucks.

School counsellors came around one day … All I asked was one question: “How do I make the most money by investing the least amount of time?’  

So they told me, ‘Petroleum Technology, SAIT. Oh, you’ll never make it into university, kid, so that’s probably going to be your best bet. And it looks like you’ve got the marks for it.’

I thought, ‘OK.’ I put in my application. The rest, as they say, is history.

My career is a huge part of my life. And if I trace back to my roots, that single cell that spawned it all, it has the SAIT logo on it. So how can you not love where you came from? Now to be an instructor here, it’s fulfilling. I guess the word is ‘thankful.’ I’m appreciative that this place is here and it’s still here for me ― from 17 to 57 years old, that’s a big spread. My dream is just to go until I exhaust my usefulness here.”

Jim Esposito, Petroleum Technology ’79 | Instructor, MacPhail School of Energy

Editor’s note: Jim was one of SAITSA’s 2016 Instructor of Excellence Award recipients, one of eight recipients chosen in SAIT’s centennial year. Together, the eight recipients rack up nearly 100 years of teaching at SAIT. Read more about the award in the Spring 2017 edition of LINK, SAIT’s alumni magazine.

 

“This whole thing started because baking didn’t work out for me … I still do it on the side – I make wedding cakes and stuff like that. It’s a real side hustle (laughs).

I’ve always looked at big trucks on the road and thought, ‘Wow, that’s really cool.’ I wanted to learn how to make them work. I was drawn to the Diesel Equipment Technician program because it was only one year long – I can’t even stress how much that appealed to me. is nothing like high school, but you don’t know that until you’re in it. Going back to school was very daunting for me.

A year and a half or so before I even thought of applying for this program – just because I didn’t want to go back to school – I had applied for an apprenticeship at a heavy-duty dealership …. What really kind of struck me was this one employer asked me if I had heard of the SAIT program and talked me through it. He said, ‘As a woman in a male-dominated industry, if you want to be taken seriously, go take this program, get your own tools and show you’re dedicated … that will make an employer look at you.’

I recently secured a job with an on-road shop. I had given up my reading week break and did a 40-hour week there. I was kind of like, ‘Look how hard I work for free. Give me a job and see what I can do.’ They let me in for a three-month probationary period, so I just need to make it pass that. I have confidence in myself that I am going to be able to do that. I feel like you need to have confidence in order to make it in any industry, not just this one. Since I accepted the job, I’ve had three phone calls from other companies.

I didn’t choose this industry to make the workplace better for women or to change anything drastically. I just wanted to be taken seriously and appreciated for being a good mechanic.”

Jordan May, Diesel Equipment Technician ‘17

#SAITstory: “I’ve worked here for a total of 37 years. The first 22 years I worked in a maintenance department, basically fixing anything made of metal … I went to work on my own, but I was asked to come back as an instructor for a one-year contract. I’m still here 15 years later.

Some of my students say, “Jim, when are you retiring? You can’t leave until I’m done.” I say, ‘Okay!’

One thing you never want to do is be afraid ― when you’re afraid, it gets you. Me, I always look at it that if I make a mistake, it’s just a learning curve. It’s fun.

I look at my mom and dad and they sit at home and don’t do anything. I don’t want to be like that, so I’ll keep working. It keeps me young being around the students. They keep me updated of what’s going on out there in the industry. You tell me something, I look at it and research it so I know I’m up to date ― you can’t go stagnant in this. I’ve never been one to be stagnant. There’s a lot of things in the trade I can do. Custom work is one of them. Any kind of metal you give me, I can work with.

I’m not ready to retire. I’m having too much fun.”

Jim Fehr, SAIT instructor, Sheet Metal

Editor’s note: Jim Fehr is part of a skilled team building #SAIT’s 2016 Time Capsule, to be opened in 2116. Watch @sait on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram starting tomorrow to learn how you can be part of the items going into the historic piece. The time capsule will be going in the ground on June 5, 2017.

“Growing up, dance was just my way of staying out of trouble. I wasn’t too bad of a kid, but I wasn’t the greatest student either. School was to make my parents happy. I wasn’t motivated. To me, the only things that mattered were sneakers, fashion and dance.

When I was 16 and 17, we’d be breaking on my driveway. We’d get a piece of cardboard and we’d dance on that. I was also on the dance team at my school, so we had the gymnasium and the theatres – pretty much wherever we could get space, we would dance. It was 10 years ago I discovered Krumping. My dance crew, Empirical Freedom, is the first to bring this style of dance to Western Canada.

I was the only child born in Canada out of my siblings. My mom lived in the Philippines with my sister and brother and worked as an English teacher, while my dad lived in Singapore to work. He had to sacrifice time with his family so he could give us a better future. 

I graduated in 2010 with my Aircraft Structures Technician (ACST) certificate and got a job in the aviation industry. My dad is also an aircraft structures technician, so I always grew up around planes and travelling. My sister also graduated from the ACST program in 1997, so aviation is in our family.

My dad always told me to find a career where I could make more money and work less, rather than make less and work more so I had more time for myself, my friends and my family. He had to sacrifice those things and he didn't want me to have to do the same. His words always stuck with me and when the opportunity came to make a change and follow my childhood dream of owning my own business, I took the plunge. I saved up money and started my clothing company, Legal Hustle Clothing. I came back to SAIT in 2011 and got my business diploma and since then, so many opportunities have opened up for me.”

Albert Mejia |Aircraft Structures Technician ’10 | Business Administration ’14 | Founder and owner, Legal Hustle Clothing | Co-Founder, Empirical Freedom| Creator, YYC SOLEdiers 

 

“For the past year with Baby Gourmet, we’ve been focusing on innovation and increasing revenue. Also, I’ve been mentoring at District Ventures, an accelerator set up by Arlene Dickinson. It’s very interesting. I love working with new start-ups. I wish I had those types of resources when I was starting my company 11 years ago. It’s about building their businesses. Some are in the growth phase, some are in the start-up phase. It’s helping them get on track for sales, distribution, investment — whatever their needs are at that time. 

Also, since last year I have been working with one of the courses at SAIT. It’s a group in the Business Department and it involves working on a business plan. Truthfully, I think the mentorship I’m doing is for more personal satisfaction. It’s that reward of giving back. It’s really a personal gain.

And I’ve put more emphasis on travel and exploring now that my kids are a bit older. (They are nine and 10.) I did my first trip to Hong Kong in January, doing some exploration of expanding overseas. I haven’t done anything like that yet with the kids. But I want them to know that there is so much more beyond where we live. It’s learning about what is going on in the world and the opportunities you can have and the people you meet outside your comfort zone. I look forward to getting back to that.”

Jennifer Carlson, Founder and director, Baby Gourmet Foods Inc. | Business Administration ’98 | SAIT Distinguished Alumna ’16

Editor’s note: Jennifer Carlson is one of 37 Distinguished Alumni who have been recognized since the awards were launched 30 years ago.

“I grew up in Venezuela and I was there until I was 23. I graduated as a chemical engineer there. I met my wife there. However, the situation of the country made us look for alternatives.  Spain was our first alternative since the language barrier was not there. However, it was difficult to adapt to the culture. We looked into the opportunities in Canada and the thing that caught our attention was that Canada has five of the 10 best cities to live in the world. We came to Canada and I started working for PepsiCo and have now been here for nine years. Even with PepsiCo, I’ve lived in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, so I’ve moved around quite a bit.

We’ve enjoyed but it’s not like we necessarily dreamed of it. Sometimes it has been tough for my family and sometimes it has been refreshing. It has given me perspective and helped me live my life happier. 

Our daughter was born in Montreal. She speaks Spanish at home ― we force her to speak Spanish. Well, not “force”, but we will say to her, ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying. I am not going to respond unless you say it in Spanish.’ 

Canada has been great to us and the people in this country are exceptional. We want our daughter to be Canadian and feel Canadian, but we want her also to have that little touch of Venezuela, so she knows it and knows where we once were. It’s important.”

Alirio Briceno, Operations Management Certificate ‘10 | Manufacturing Plant Director, PepsiCo

Editor’s note: PepsiCo is a valued community partner and supporter of SAIT students and alumni. They hire SAIT grads and are the Presenting Sponsor for our 100-year anniversary.

“I was always a musician, from when I was 10 years old until I was 20. I still am, I guess. I went to school for audio recording five years ago and tried to get a job in music, but it didn’t really happen for me. 

I was terrible at chemistry in high school. The first time I did Chemistry 30, I got 51%. Then I did it a second time three or four years after high school and I got 93%, so that was a big difference. 

How I got into this field, I don’t even know. I had worked in an environmental lab as a shipper-receiver, so I got a little bit of an in there and got to see what it was like. It seemed like a cool professional world to be part of. 

I came to SAIT and took Chemical Laboratory Technology. One week after I graduated, which was last May, I had a job . I did a project in my fourth semester of school, and then my first six months working at SAIT was an extension of that project. Never in a million years did I think that would happen. There was money being put into my project ― my idea ― and that very was surreal.

Every time someone asks me what I do, I still kind of cringe when I say I work at SAIT because I feel like I am showing off. I am proud of it ― it’s been a really awesome opportunity.”

Dylan Stewart, Chemical Laboratory Technology ‘16 | Laboratory Technologist, Applied Research and Innovation Services, SAIT

 

 

“You know one thing, I’ve shrunk exactly four inches. When I was in the navy I was five-foot-seven and I was that height for years. 

A few years ago the doctor measured my height and I was five-foot-three. In the spine there’s 33 vertebrae. If the space between them shrink one-eighth of an inch, 32 times one-eighth is exactly four inches, and that’s what I’ve shrunk. My pants are still the same length, but my jacket has become my overcoat. 

Well anyway, I think I’ll keep what I’ve got because I feel good. When I had surgery I didn’t ever have pain. Even the doctors can’t understand why I’ve never had pain ― I was lucky. I was born lucky. I survived an airplane foul up, I’ve survived a submarine foul-up and I’ve survived two world-wide flu epidemics.”

Clarence Hollingworth, 102 years old | SAIT’s oldest (known) living alumnus | Electrical Engineering Technology ’34 & Honorary Bachelor of Science ’15 | Retired SAIT instructor

Editor’s note: Clarence Hollingworth turned 102 on March 3, 2017. Check out his birthday celebration gallery on SAIT's Facebook page.

 

#SAITstory: “My parents came to Canada in 1982. Everybody in my family had to basically take what they could and restart their lives. My dad was becoming a lawyer and my mom was trained as an educator — but they never got to pursue those dreams.

In 1973, there was a coup in Chile ― the Allende government was overthrown by the Pinochet junta. My parents were supporters of the previous government. After happened, the Pinochet military went on a spree of finding any material relating to the previous government and their ideology and banned and burned it. They wanted to purge Chile of all of those ideas. If you were found with anything , you could be potentially executed. 

Both my aunt and my dad were political prisoners. In the end, they were exiled, but they had friends who were killed. When my dad was being pursued by the military police, my parents buried their books in the backyard ... some of these books are currently on my parent’s bookshelf. 

These methods and tactics are still being used around the world. Information is so important, and whether or not an individual or a group of people can access information is a major factor in civil liberties and an informed populous. 

Pablo Zanetta, SAIT Library Technician | Library Information Technology ‘08

Editor’s note: Hear Pablo’s story and learn about the importance of intellectual freedom at  Freedom to Read: Epic Reading Marathon, Feb. 28 in SAIT's Reg Erhardt Library, 12 pm – 6 pm. Learn more at sait.ca

“The most challenging part of making SAIT’s 100th birthday cake for me was to trust others. I’ve often relied on myself or a very small circle on projects like these. 

When I was a student in the Baking and Pastry Arts program at SAIT, never would I have thought I would be working on SAIT’s 100th birthday cake 10 years later, helping to coordinate a team of 87 people, to be exact. 

For this to be the size and scope I wanted it to be, I knew I had to get others involved and I had to give up the control I fought years to gain. But it was fully worth it, to trust in others, to trust everyone to handle the cake of my career, and so far, the cake of my lifetime.

Everyone involved helped make my vision a reality. It was not my vision anymore, it was our vision. They put trust in me to steer them in the right direction, and I put my trust in them to deliver. I discovered my strength is how strongly I believe in the ability of others, especially our students. I believe in them more than myself. I’d like to think we’ve helped each other grow a bit.”

Rose Warden, Instructor, Baking and Pastry Arts | Baking and Pastry Arts ’07

Editor's note: Photo taken June 2016 captures Chef Rose Warden in process of planning the centennial cake. The seven-foot and 700 lb. dessert was fed to over 2,000 people on Oct. 16, 2016.

 

“Peter and I met in June 2002 ... My best friend had moved out here, so I came to visit her for the summer and decided to stay in SAIT residence.

My roommate was in the same cooking program as Peter and convinced me to go out with her to a pub one night. I remember noticing him the first time I saw him — he kept switching seats with other students until eventually he ended up right beside me. He told me later that he had done this on purpose … Afterwards, I was unsure if we’d see each other again.

The fire alarm went off in Owasina residence around 11 pm one night . I evacuated with everyone else. I was trying to figure out what was going on and I heard someone call out to me. It was Peter … We were together almost every day after that until it was time for me to go back to Montreal to resume my studies at Concordia at the end of August. We dated long distance.  We wrote letters, although we did email too. I still have all of those letters Peter wrote me.

Late December 2002, Peter asked me over the telephone to marry him. I said, 'Yes!' After I came back to Calgary in spring 2003, he often tried to get me to elope and marry him at city hall. Being in our twenties, I thought we should wait until we were older and settled. Finally, in October 2009, we eloped and got married on the Sunshine Coast in BC. 

It’s now been 14 years since we met and seven since we married, and now we have Izzy. We’ve been taking her here to SAIT for swimming lessons since she was eight months old. 

Carolina Spriggs-Zastre

Editor’s note: Carolina and Peter’s love story in his words: “Because a residence building was evacuated I ended up running into a girl outside that I had met a week before. She was visiting friends in Calgary and was staying at the residence during the summer. We never exchanged phone numbers when we first met, so I was happy to see her again. Had there not been a building evacuation we probably wouldn't have seen each other again ― or ended up dating, or ended up getting married, or sitting together with our daughter having breakfast this morning!” – Peter Zastre, Professional Cooking ‘03

 

“I love making something look good. I like working with layout, creating content and just making stuff. You kind of have this idea in your head, then your idea comes to life and it looks good, which is great. I think that creativity has always been there, but I didn’t tap into it until high school. And then SAIT just kind of brought it to life.

I don’t know exactly where I am going, but I feel like there are so many different ways to go, that I’m not going to be stuck. It’s not like there is only one door I can go through to get a job. I could do so many different things … In just a few years, I have so many new skills and certifications that allow me to do that. 

Maybe someone would view that as having no direction. When someone asks, ‘What are you going to do?’ I say, ‘I have no idea. I’ll just do something.’ I am pretty open right now. As long as I have money to live and survive. You know, minor details. A little coffee, a little sleep and that’s it ― happiness.”

Natalie Silver, Graphic Communications and Print Technology ’17 

 

“I worked as a paramedic for five or six years and then I decided to switch out … You can’t invest yourself so deeply into a call — you won’t last. At the time I had to try to find a way to remove myself from it. But I think eventually I had removed myself so much that I was not very personal with people … I was doing it to survive, and I did. But eventually, I found I lost my soul. I lost who I was as a person.

It was an arrogant person I became and I wasn’t happy about that. I wanted to re-ground myself and go do something that was focused on mission or ministry around the world – I wanted to gain passion and compassion for people again. 

I served a ministry for a good eight years. I travelled to different areas of the world, usually Asia or South America, working in a lot of slums and a lot of places in the developing world.

As for my role , I try to go out and have as much coffee with people as I can. I’m travelling around, walking the halls as much as I can … I do have a turned up moustache, so that’s kind of become my calling card (laughs). And so people will recognize me, but in order for them to know what I do, I have to explain. 

I try to have conversation with people no matter what their faith or non-faith is. I connect with them and ask, ‘How are you feeling about your time on campus here? Are you excited for what you’re studying? Are you finding your meaning and purpose?’ 

My friend at U of C calls it a spiritual broker. I sometimes call it coaching or mentoring because I am also a hockey coach, and I love analogies around hockey or coaching. I don’t try to give the answer because I don’t know — I am on my adventure as much as anyone else is. So I ask questions and help people discern through that and maybe they can discover their path.”

Art Kung, Chaplain, SAIT Interfaith Centre | Emergency Medical Technician ’90

Editor’s note: Art is part of SAIT’s Interfaith Centre, which is a service for staff and students and includes chaplains from a variety of faiths, including Roman Catholic, Muslim and Christian. 

 

“I’m not naive enough to think I can eliminate the stigma of mental illness, but what little bit I can do, that’s what I want to achieve. 

The idea behind my project ‘Home of the Brave’ is to show that those who suffer from mental illness should not be defined by that label. If you’re diabetic, if you have high blood sugar, people don’t define you by that, so they shouldn’t define you by a mental illness either ... They might be thriving today and maybe not tomorrow, but there are people that are out working and living, and they’re doing more despite their mental illness. 

I’ve kept my personal struggles with anxiety largely a secret. Over the years I learned various strategies to manage it. I am so very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive wife who showed me there is no shame in asking for help. 

My portrait will be the final photograph in this project. It will be an honor to follow in the footsteps of the participants of Home of the Brave. These folks have inspired me beyond words and I thank each and every one of them for helping me reveal a deeply personal ’secret‘ which I have kept hidden for most of my life.

Sharing our stories is a very powerful and cathartic way to help reduce the stigma of mental illness. When I was going to university back in the early ‘80s, absolutely nobody talked about mental illness. It was like the words to talk about mental illness – in an educated, empathetic way – hadn’t yet been invented. 

And the result was I suffered in silence. I was too scared, too ashamed and too confused to breathe a word to anyone. Back then, I felt a responsibility to protect my parents and so I never told them. In retrospect I naively thought my anxiety would go away and even now, that conversation has never really occurred.”

Danny Miller, SAIT Instructor, School of Information and Communication Technologies | SAIT alumnus, Printing Management Technology '92 | Photographer, Home of the Brave

Editor’s note: ‘Home of the Brave’ uses black and white film photography and features people who have been impacted by mental illness, or as Danny describes them, “some of the most courageous and inspirational people I know.” The portraits were inspired by a stigmatizing and a misconstrued photograph of actor and comedian Robin Williams, which was published after he died by suicide in 2014. The project also reflects Miller’s own life experience. View the project on Danny’s blog fivehundredandnine.ca.

 

“I started playing hockey when I was really young. I’m from a very small town in Saskatchewan, and that’s what everybody did. Everybody went to the rink after school, everybody played shinny. And I was one of the only girls in my town that played … 

When I was initially diagnosed, my first thought was for my friends on my team. I didn’t want to let them down even though I knew if I chose to walk away, they would support me. But I couldn’t imagine going to school and not going to hockey practice, seeing the girls every day, playing my games on the weekend. 

The disease is called rheumatoid arthritis and I was officially diagnosed in September 2015. My mom has it, and she got when she was 16.

I first got symptoms in my feet and it kind of left my foot and went into my left wrist. It destroyed all the cartilage in my wrist, so I have bone rubbing on bone in some spots. At one point, because of the pain, I couldn’t even tie my skates. I’ve been tying my skates since I was six years-old, so relying on someone else for something that seems so simple and so routine was very hard for me.

Even when I couldn’t play hockey it was still good to come to the rink — it was almost an escape from my pain.

It’s one of those things that you don’t know how strong you are until you have to push through it. I have challenges every day that not many people understand. But I proved to myself that I can still play hockey. I can’t do things that I used to do before — or do them as well — but that’s my norm now, and I’ve accepted that.

I don’t want rheumatoid arthritis to define my life. I am only 23, so I am young and I still want to do everything on my bucket list”

Kali Jamieson, SAIT Trojan | SAIT alumna, Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant | SAIT student, Business Administration Diploma

Editor’s note: Kali is now in her fifth year as a SAIT Trojan on the women’s hockey team. After missing half of the season in her third and fourth years due to surgery and the painful effects of rheumatoid arthritis, she returned to the ice this season to finish her final year.

 

“It was fun working for The Weal and on various assignments. Sports and feature photography was always my passion. The band KISS came into Calgary during what I think was their first Canadian tour. What I remember most is there was a double booking at a local venue, the Jubilee , I think. Of course, this upstart, face-painted band from the states got the punt. Next thing you know, they were playing in the SAIT gym. I have no idea of how I got around to covering it, but being with The Weal, I probably thought I better go and check it out.

At the time, the gym was right by my office, so I just had to go around the corner and take a few snaps. Well, they were different ― they were loud. They all had six-inch, platform shoes and face paint. People were kind of like, ‘Woah, what are these guys?’ 

I had played in a top 40s rock band for about five years as well, so I was just quite interested. Their music, I thought, was pretty good. But the SAIT gym at that time, the reverberation around walls, and being heavy metal, the bricks were just bulging from the sound (laughs). And then the dried ice and the fog would come on and Gene Simmons would lick his eyebrows almost.”

Frank Shufletoski, Journalism Arts ’74 | Former SAIT instructor for 34 years

Editor’s note: Frank Shufletoski’s influence spans across the globe. The former instructor is credited with creating the photo major portion of SAIT’s Journalism program. The photos he took at the 1974 KISS concert were later published in the 2013 KISS biography ‘Nothin’ to Lose: The Making of KISS’ by Ken Sharp, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons.

 

“My favourite part about cars is the way they sound, the noises they make. Every car, every exhaust has its own unique sound ― it’s like music.

I went into being an electrician at first. I did three years of that and then I kind of decided that cars were more my thing, so I did a quick switch … I had thought I would do cars as my hobby and electrical work as my job, but I found out cars are my passion ― I love being around them, fixing them, playing with them.

In high school, you have to go home and study at a desk, and I just always wanted to go outside and do things with my hands. My grandpa was a master carpenter, so I would hang out with him. It seemed like he knew everything. He taught me to never give up. He’d be frustrated with something he made, and if it wasn’t perfect, he’d fix it. He wouldn’t quit. He was just that person in my life, my role model. 

I learned more from him than I did sitting at a desk. That’s why I like SAIT so much because you’re not just behind a desk. You go do it, and it sticks with you.”

Matt Seymour, Fourth-Year Automotive Service Technician Apprentice, SAIT

#SAITstory: “Nigeria is made up of approximately 500 ethnic groups, where there are three major ethnic groups: Yoruba, Hausa-Fulani and Igbo. The rest are categorized as minority tribes.

The festivities recognized all over the country are based on religion: Christianity and Islam, which are accorded public holidays all over the country. I am a Christian, and I belong to the Yoruba and Bini tribe by virtue of my parents.

In my family, and for those who still have living parents, grandparents or great-grandparents, every family member travels to the family home located either in the village or city for one to two weeks of intense celebration every day. This is an opportunity to meet and connect with other extended family members, know the family tree and celebrate together as one big family. It is more of a traditional family reunion.

For food, we buy animals like goats, rams, cows – depends on your level of income. If your income is high, you will buy a cow and probably you’ll invite the whole street to share with you.

Some people wear traditional clothes and you purchase the material yourself and take it to the tailors for them to sew it for you.  You need to do that the first week of December if you want to wear something traditional on Christmas day, otherwise, you won’t have anything. If you shop for normal English attire, you wear whatever makes you feel good.” 

Femi Aladeselu, SAIT student, Bachelor of Applied Technology Petroleum Engineering

 

”Right now, sadly, my beautiful country of Mexico is experiencing some very hard times. In just three years my family and I suffered many terrible crimes, including robbery and kidnapping.

Then my son was born. That changed things completely for my wife and me.

I had always wanted to study abroad, so I looked for the opportunity to live this dream, and my wife was very excited to do it as well. So when our son was born, we decided it was time to start over.

I decided to apply to attend SAIT, but that nearly didn’t happen. One of the requirements to apply for my program was to send a portfolio by mail. It took me about a month to gather everything and design it.

Just one week before the deadline two criminals with guns broke into my office and took everything I had, including my portfolio. I had to do everything over again in three days.

The package arrived one day after the deadline and I received a letter declining my application. I sent an e-mail explaining the situation and the documents proving what happened. A few days later I received an e-mail asking me to write an essay, and a week after that I got a new letter from SAIT.

I was accepted.

Of course, our family and friends have encouraged us, but we never thought that we would arrive and receive so much kindness from strangers. From the very moment we arrived in this beautiful country we have received selfless generosity and solidarity.

My wife and I are beginning to understand that the only constant in life is change. We learned that as long as we are together our home could be moved anywhere in the world and all what we need can fit in a suitcase. Also, that sometimes when something looks bad, it can actually become a blessing.”

Hector Flores, SAIT New Media Production and Design student | SAIT Alumni and Stakeholder Relations Assistant

 “Some of our Indigenous students are the first in their family to come to post-secondary and it’s a tough thing to navigate. There can be a lack trust in the education system because of the impact of residential schools. So it’s a really big deal for those students and their family, too.

It’s important that we let Indigenous students know they matter, and part of that is through providing awareness to non-Indigenous communities. We are trying to dispel the stereotypes and myths that are out there and provide information. For example, why we have certain kinds of ceremonies and what they involve.

That’s why we have the Cultural Lecture Series and initiatives like the REDress Campaign. That knowledge and awareness is important for us to be sharing and for people to realize that the issues we talk about are things that matter today.

Also, as Indigenous people, it’s really important to know where we come from.

We have a lot of students who have grown up fully immersed in their culture. But it’s also common for us to hear from a student that they just found out they had an Indigenous ancestry, or they were adopted as an infant and are just learning about their culture now. There is an opportunity for them to do that here.”

Jean Dube (left) and Tapaarjuk Moore, Aboriginal Student Advisors, SAIT Chinook Lodge Aboriginal Resource Centre

“Our training started with the English program in Angola. I am now 39 so I was 37 years old when I started. We spent almost two years in the English program before we came.

We arrived in Calgary in January and then we will leave in December. The time felt long and short. It was long because it was hard to get used to the environment. The first thing is the cold ― we can’t talk about Canada without talking about the cold. That was hard because our environment is very different.

Besides that, the other challenge that we had was the food. Wow, we had to get used to the food. We like quantity, but here, you like quality. You eat just a small amount, which doesn’t work with us. When I talk about quantity, we eat a lot of rice, beans, and something we call Funge (foon-gee). Funge is made from corn flour and you cook it very well. You eat it with anything like meat, sauce and beans. It’s very nice. When we found out there was corn flour here, everyone went quickly to buy it.

I miss my family a lot. Oh, I am telling you. My boy is seven and my daughter is four. One thing I am proud of is that my kids speak English. When we go somewhere like the restaurant, people get together because they want to hear them speaking English. They speak more than me. In our home, we speak English, and they learn Portuguese at school because that is the official language in Angola.

It makes me proud because I always say, ‘Do not just do what everybody does. Do something different.’ So when they are in the community, they are different. They have something additional. Now if they have to travel, they have no fear.” 

Joao Tubi, 2016 ESSO V Angola /Oil and Gas Production program partnership

Editor’s note: Joao Tubi is one of 20 graduates of a partnership program between ESSO Angola and SAIT.  The competitive program allows participants to learn English, while studying instrumentation, operations and maintenance and mechanical. 

 

“I graduated in 1983 from Commercial Baking but then my legs got pretty bad, so I came back in 1987 and took Accounting. I took it slow because by then my arms were getting bad, too. 

Basically, from grade five to grade six, I grew too fast. Theory is none of the tendons grew with me – they are all too short for my body. You can only stretch a tendon twice and most of mine have been. I was 13 when I started having surgeries and I started having to use a scooter in 1987, which is when I came back to SAIT. During that time I started working for SAIT Athletics just to make extra money by keeping score and taking tickets for games, things like that. And I am still doing it. 

The SAIT Students Association has an award called the Therese Murray Award. It’s for outstanding volunteering. It was named after me in 1990-91. I was surprised when they first gave it out and to be honest, didn't expect it to be around for long. 

While I was a student here I was a senate chair and a student representative on Academic Council. I was also on the Disability Awareness Committee, and we achieved everything we wanted to do — like adding wheelchair ramps, signs in braille and automatic doors and increasing snow clearing for people who are in wheelchairs. 

This past year I went to a centennial meeting, and there was a girl doing the check-in. I said my name, ‘Therese Murray,’ and she replied, ‘The Therese Murray?’ She had just won the award the night before and couldn’t believe I was there in front of her. She wanted to get a picture with me ― that was a confidence boost.”

Therese Murray, Commercial Baking ’83, Business Administration - Accounting ’91 | Key minor official, game day sport statistics, SAIT Trojans 

 

#SAITstory: “When people have a problem understanding our spiritual relationship with the land, I ask them, ‘How many of you have mothers? How well do you look after or care for your mother?’ 

That is why we call the land Mother Earth ― the life-giver. It provides for us, it nurtures us. It gives us life, food, air. It’s where most of our medicines come from. 

That’s why we smudge and that’s how we honour the land on which we walk. For example, when we go into an area where we are picking berries, we always go in there with a bit of tobacco and put it back into the ground to say thank you for the berries. 

Everybody has to think. I challenge people to think of your mother … Would you just knock her down and walk all over her? Or would you show her some respect?

My question is, how would you demonstrate your respect for the land?”

Sykes Powderface, Stoney Nakoda | SAIT Chinook Lodge Elder in Residence | Advisor, Indigenous, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights

Editor’s note: Sykes Powderface is from the Stoney Nakoda Nation in Morley, Alberta. He has devoted much of his life to raising awareness for Indigenous peoples and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups in Canada. He will be speaking on Canada’s Treaty history this evening, Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 4 pm – 6 pm. 

 

Things have changed exponentially for us since Aug. 12, 2013 — the day we made our first sale in Alberta. We started in an eight-foot-by-ten-foot tool shed and now we’re in a 15,000 square-foot industrial bay. And yeah, it grows all the time. 

I was talking to Graham (Co-owner & Co-founder, Tool Shed Brewing Company) a few weeks ago about how ridiculous this thing is and how we got here. It’s weird when you think back on how these connections are made. I was saying I think Facebook is the best way to track it — if you look back at your posts, you can see how you got to where you are.

I started in Computer Engineering at SAIT and then inadvertently turned into everyone’s computer technologist at home, so I quickly switched programs … I had always been interested in radio frequency, so I thought either telecom or broadcast. And at the time, I remember thinking broadcast would be cool because I’d have kids one day and I could take them for a tour of the TV station. And they’d say, ‘Yup, my dad works at the TV station,’ and think it’s pretty cool.

I worked in broadcast for two years and then I took a job in Afghanistan, which kind of had the perfect mix of both worlds ― satellite communications ― and the location made it exciting as well. I was doing the part I loved about broadcast, and doing it in a foreign land kind of put some spice in it.”

Jeff Orr, Broadcast Electronics Technology ’03 | Co-owner & Co-founder, Tool Shed Brewing Company

Editor’s note: Tool Shed Brewing Company teamed up with SAITSA to create a centennial brew, SAIT Centenni-Ale in celebration of our 100 years. You can find the special-edition ale the Gateway Bar and Oak & Vine.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a while — to combine my passions with my education. 

High school is very focused on academic studies, and I just want to focus on what I’m good at and what I love – cars and cooking. 

My dad has always been someone I could talk to about what I want in life. He’s someone I look up to. He graduated from SAIT in 1985 from the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Technology program, and he’s the reason I am pursuing what I love. 

When I was four he bought a ‘92 Chevrolet Blazer and when I was six, we would work on it together in the garage. My Dad also really likes to cook and he makes our meals at home, so we cook together too. 

This year, I’m going to join my high school cooking club. I’ve applied to go to SAIT’s downtown Culinary Campus next May for a four-month Introduction to Cooking program. And then in fall next year, I hope to pursue the Automotive Service Technology program at the School of Manufacturing and Automation. 

I’m really happy to stay in Calgary, which is where I grew up, and still have access to the best education for what I want to do. It’s why I picked SAIT above all other schools in Alberta and across the country.”

Travis Cornelius, Bishop Carroll High School Grade 12 student and prospective SAIT student

Editor’s note: Travis, and hundreds of other prospective SAIT students took part in the SAIT Open House on Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 touring the campus, learning about programs, trying a skill and applying to SAIT for free. If you missed the Open House, there are other opportunities to learn more about SAIT and the programs we offer

 

"This is the second energy downturn I’ve seen in my 10 years at SAIT.

It’s an important part of my job to let students and parents know it’s part of the business cycle of the energy industry in Alberta. When they’re considering our programs, we want them to know they’ll benefit from the fact that our instructors have years of industry experience and have lived through these cycles before.

SAIT students have the opportunity to learn in real time and develop employable skills. When they graduate in two or four years, they’ll be well positioned to enter a — hopefully — recovered market.

The current economy can affect how perspective students think about their education, but Open House is a great opportunity for us to show students that we are focused on action-based learning and taking skills outside the classroom."

Gursher Pannu, Academic Chair, School of Business

Editor’s note: SAIT’s Open House is being held Friday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Oct. 29 from 9 am to 4 pm, and will offer prospective students opportunities to learn about programs, try skills and apply for free.

"I moved to Canada by myself eight years ago as a foreign worker. It was kind of a scary thing ― I had just turned 20 and didn’t really know what I was doing. It was mostly to help my family out financially. They are doing better now, so that’s good. 

I am from the Philippines. When I moved here I saw there was so many opportunities. A lot of people take it for granted, but Canada is an awesome place to live. And for me, I mean, my family is still back home, but I didn’t want to go back there ― it’s so different. It’s so much harder to find a job. Even if I had a university degree, there was no security. It’s a lot more difficult to get a job than here. Back home, there’s no EI, there’s no healthcare. If you don’t have a job, you don’t have anything. So if you get sick, you don’t have a doctor. 

It took me forever to get my permanent residency. And then in 2013, I got it. And I knew the first thing I wanted to do was go back to school. So I was looking into all of the post-secondary schools and then I found SAIT, and I thought, ‘This is interesting and it’s not your typical post-secondary.’ 

After I got into the Business Administration Diploma program, it kind of all connected for me. While I was working at the SAITSA Student Support Centre, I met people from Enactus SAIT … Now I am the President of Enactus SAIT and we’ve raised about $28,000 to run our projects.

From being a scared, foreign worker, I didn’t think I’d have the courage to do all the things I would do. I didn’t think I could help open SAITSA’s Student Support Centre or stand in front of 100 people and be a leader of a club. I didn’t know I could stand in front of a graduating class as the valedictorian and try to inspire them. It’s just surprising how little I thought of myself and how my journey helped me find how great I could be if I just stepped out of my comfort zone and tried new things.” 

Dianne Templeton, Current student, BBA | BA ’16 | Spring 2016 SAIT Valedictorian| President, Enactus SAIT | Supervisor, SAITSA Student Support Centre

Editor’s note: As SAIT enters its centennial year, SAIT’s School of Business is also celebrating 50 years of success. 

 

“Well, the fact that I could read before I started school — that kind of tells you. I wanted to learn. I wanted to learn the language. I want to learn what words meant. 

My mother was a big help with that of course. “What do you want to read?” I read the comics. Like Dick Tracy, or what’s some of the others? If I thought about it, I could come up with quite a few of the old-time comics, like Gasoline Alley.

Learning is like bread and water to me. What else can you do? That’s how I see it. I’m not interested in sports. I’m not interested in all kinds of things that most people are, but I find that being able to do things for myself is very fulfilling. I like to think about the jobs that I’ve done, even the jobs that I’ve done ten years ago. 

I’d love to come here for some upgrading because I need it. I know that. You see, the last upgrading course I took was in the late ’80s. That’s a long time ago. So I know I need some upgrading, particularly in mechanics. Machine shop, I’m OK, I don’t need much upgrading there. But mechanics, I sure do. There are a lot of things I can’t handle anymore, at least in the newer shop.”

Ted Weale, Machining ‘49

 

“I’m lucky in regards to this disease. I am in the top 1%, so I don’t have any symptoms ― it’s been six years without symptoms. I’ll probably be on medication for the rest of my life but it’s minimal. It’s not that big of a deal. 

Twelve years ago I was at university in Ontario. The first few years were really good … But then there was this transition period I don’t totally remember now. I started to become really delusional and I had a break with reality. One of the scariest symptoms was that I thought people could hear me think. Sometimes it took me two hours to get out the door to even go to the grocery store, so I wasn’t eating properly and I was very sick. I was close to death and I didn’t know it. 

I had never heard of schizophrenia before this, ever in my life. 

Something in my gut just told me one day that I needed help, it was like an alarm went off. I hopped in a cab and went to the hospital, and they really encouraged me to admit myself. So I did and I was placed into treatment for seven or eight months. It was needed, but it was also very intense. 

Even after I got out of treatment, I still didn’t know where I was going. I wasn’t happy. I thought after treatment things would get better, but it didn’t and it took me a while to figure out that I needed to change things in my life to get better. I needed to stop drinking — that was a big one and it helped a lot because I could start seeing things a little bit clearer. And exercise also helped a lot.

I am 33 and I’ve never been this close to graduating before. Life is really good right now ― it’s the best it’s ever been. 

I was working at Apple before this, and I thought that was a pretty good job and life was good. And then I came to SAIT. I am not the same person going out the door that I was when I came in ― I’ve grown. SAIT has been such a platform for success. It’s fun to be here, you meet good people and the instructors are so supportive. 

That gives you the ability to be brave.” 

David Morales, Journalism student | Student representative, SAIT Board of Governors | Mental health advocate and speaker

 

“Being Blackfoot is about showing respect for everyone, even if they don’t show it back. It’s about accepting people no matter who they are. It’s about loving yourself, loving your culture, loving nature, the creator, everything.

With me, my grandma was in a residential school, and it impacted me because I didn’t grow up learning or speaking my language.

All these people who went through residential school had their identity taken away from them because they weren’t allowed to speak their language, see their parents, live their culture – they were taken away unwillingly and it just destroyed them.

I am most proud of our language. It links you back to your ancestors and that all we were supposed to learn but didn’t. And it makes me proud to learn it.

I really enjoy saying ‘good morning’ in Blackfoot. Do you want to hear it? This is how you say ‘good morning’ in Blackfoot: Iitaamikskanaotonni (ee-DAH-meek-sh-ka-no-doe-nee).

I like that word because it means it’s the start of a new day.”

Amber Woods, SAIT Professional Cooking student

“I was 22 years old when I first started working at SAIT. What I was aspiring to, really, was a career in journalism. I had a Political Science Degree at the U of A and Journalism Degree at Carlton University.

When I got back to Calgary, I really really really wanted a newspaper job. I got an interview at the Calgary Albertan, which is now the Calgary Sun … I thought I did a good , but they didn’t offer me the job. I was just crushed.

In the middle of August of 1974, I saw this little ad in the back of the careers section in the Calgary Herald for a job at SAIT in a writing position. Well, I applied and got that job.

When I was first at SAIT, I wrote scripts and I had to write something for a series of educational films on photography.

I was in the SAIT library and I opened up a book of photographs called ‘The Decisive Moment’ by a French photographer named Henri Cartier-Bresson. When I closed that book I knew I wanted to be a photographer. It was a life-changing experience.

This September it will be 42 years since I first walked through the doors of this place.”

George Webber, former SAIT staff photographer, 1980 – 2002 | SAIT Instructor, Continuing Education | Internationally recognized photographer

Editor’s note: George Webber became a staff photographer in 1980 and has been an Instructor in the Continuing Education department for the past 25 years. He is an internationally recognized photographer, whose work can be found in seven books, major magazines and along the walls of museums around the globe. In Calgary, the Glenbow Museum has over 500 of his photos in their collection. Find 22 years of his SAIT photography in ‘Shapers, Makers and Originals: The Story of SAIT’s First 100 Years,’ hitting the shelves of SAIT’s bookstore on Sept. 23.

 

 “I had to comb through thousands and thousands of details to get the story. Each and every topic in supports the theme of SAIT being a unique institution because it provides relevant technical education. It was a first in many ways ― SAIT has been innovative and it has stayed relevant. That’s amazing because it started right at the earliest days.

The most surprising thing about this book and about this research project is we don’t know who the first students were. And in a way it’s not surprising because on day one there were just 11 day-time students. But in total there were more than 300 students.

So, I looked in all the archives and all the newspapers and there is no list of those first students or in the months after it opened in October 1916. However, I believe somewhere there’s a beautiful, big, old ledger and then, in beautiful calligraphic script, are these names all of these students ― the first 11, and then the ones that showed up the next day, and the next day and the next day … It will be wonderful when it is discovered.”

David Finch, Historian | Author, Shapers, Makers and Originals, The Story of SAIT’s First 100 Years

Editor’s note: SAIT’s centennial book, ‘Shapers, Makers, and Originals: The Story of SAIT’s First 100 Years’ will be for sale for $24.95 in the SAIT Bookstore beginning Sept. 23. There is a limited release of 2,000 books.

“My father passed away in 1998. He was a great role model, he taught us a lot of life lessons and gave us wisdom. He said, ‘You can make something from nothing.’ That advice led me in a different direction ― it kept me alive and kept me out of trouble as we moved from Khartoum (Sudan), Cairo (Egypt) and eventually, to Calgary.

My mother would always tell me, ‘Your father would have never wanted you to be like that,’ whenever I came late or whenever I made any mistakes.

I remember it all just clicked when I came here and started to attend SAIT ― I never knew I would even finish my ESL, let alone do my upgrading and then attend SAIT, as all of my friends had dropped out from school. Having a different culture I felt I wouldn’t have time to catch up.

I came to Canada at the age of 17 and those who were the same age already had a different culture, different clothes and different language. I had to choose if I will stay within my community [ with other South Sudanese immigrants ] and lock myself there because I know they understand me or go to school and involve in other community activities and actually face those challenges —that’s the barrier that I was able to break. 

If somebody asked me how it was the first day  , I think I broke that wall and I saw the big picture, which is understanding and acceptance. You have a community you always belong to, but if you go beyond what you’re used to and begin to understand different cultures, you start finding that you belong there, too.

I never thought I would be here — I never thought I would come to college or sit and represent students.  

It has all made me think of what my father said, that you can make something out of nothing. If I had nothing and now I have something, I can only imagine what I can take from here and do.”

Gar Gar, BA ’13 | BBA ’16 | SAITSA President

Editor’s note: Gar Gar’s family is from South Sudan. They immigrated to North Sudan and then to Egypt because of the Second Sudanese Civil War, which took place from 1983 - 2005. Gar came to Canada as a sponsored refugee in 2005. Today, Gar is married and is a proud father of three. He received his Business Administration Diploma in 2013 and Business Administration Degree in 2016 and currently works as the President of SAITSA. 

 

#SAITstory: “The first two years I was here I was totally not involved. And it was kind of boring, but it was okay. I went to school, but I only went to my classes, and then we, me and my friends, would just do things off campus. It wasn’t very engaging or inspiring. I guess I cared less about school then, so my grades were worse. 

I started getting more involved after I got on the board of directors for SAITSA ― that was the turning point. When I did get involved, it added a lot of fun because it felt like I fit more of myself into it all. And then my grades went up, which is weird because in Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), usually your grades start really high and then kind of teeter off. But my case was completely the reverse. So it was cool because getting involved increased my interest and motivation to stay in school.

I now take a lot more pride in my school. My marks improved because I enjoyed school so much more. My first two years my was about a 2.6, which is pretty bad, I guess. Then I went to a 3.6 or 3.7, so it was a big difference.”

Alexander Ho, BBA '16 |2015/16 SAITSA Board of Directors | 2015/16 Academic Council | SAIT representative, 2016 Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition

Editor’s note: Alexander will be graduating with his BBA this fall and is part of the last graduating class of the SAIT’s first century. SAIT turns 100 on Oct. 16 and those graduating in spring 2017 will be part of the first graduating class of SAIT’s second century. Congratulations SAIT graduates!

 

“I began attending SAIT in 1969 and graduated from journalism in 1971. There were about 15 in our graduating class. 

At the time, we were primarily going into print media ― newspapers, magazines, this sort of thing. Even at that time we could see that the world of print media would be failing and that the world of digital media would be coming, but that it was a long ways away. And now, I know journalism is very different from when I took it ― I’m totally obsolete ― but I’m so glad to be a part of the SAIT family.

I have a great many memories. One of them was parading around campus, protesting for a new residence. It was a few years after that it was actually built, but I’d like to think those who protested with me were perhaps laying the groundwork in a small way. A lot of us were living in far flung parts of the city and community, others were living in awful accommodation in terrible parts of town. I definitely wasn’t the leader, but I signed petitions and we used to do our little marches. I think the residence would have been built anyway, but I think we had a final feeling that we participated.”

Marvin Maronda, JA ’71 | SAIT donor | Canadian grain producer, Fairview Ranch

Editor’s note: SAIT built its first student residence, Owasina Hall, in 1972. The 500-bed residence served as a hostel for summer travellers and housed Olympic athletes during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Owasina closed as a residence in 2006 and was used by law enforcement as a training ground until 2015. The building was fully demolished by July 2016.

 

“I practiced karate for 12 years when I was at high school and university and then I stopped for 18 or 19 years.

Two-and-a-half years ago I wanted to take my kids to karate so they could learn a little bit about the culture, about the martial art. I went back and I wore my white belt because I had been away from it for so long, but after one week of training, my instructor said, ‘You are far from the white belt. Go back to the brown belt.’ And then I started joining some competitions and performed well, so my coach said, ‘You know what? You should try out for the Alberta team.' 

I tried out last year and then I was approved. It was interesting because I think the oldest person on the team is about 34 years old and I am 44.  Our Alberta team came back with 14 medals in total ― three gold, two silver and nice bronze. Unfortunately, none of them came from me.

On the positive side, I was congratulated a few times by coaches and athletes from other teams about my performance and karateka spirit, even more considering I was the oldest athlete competing in the whole championships. Just scoring points on my opponents was a huge thing considering their caliber. Most of them are internationally recognized athletes or champions, currently or previously on the Karate Canada National Team. One guy from my division was the silver medalist in last year’s Pan American Games in Toronto.” 

Adamo Farah, Project Manager, SAIT's Centre for Instructional Technology and Development | Elite athlete, 2016 Karate Alberta Provincial Team 

“We’ve been doing this since the second or third Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. It began in 2001 and has been going to the UN since I was a little girl. My favourite part was attending youth caucus.

Not only can we have our voices heard as an Indigenous organization, but we can talk about the problems that we, as young people, are facing. The theme this year was suicide.

A lot of what causes suicide in Cambodia, at least for youth, is loss of land and loss of identity. Your land is your livelihood. Also, loss of language is a big factor because language is alive, it’s breathing. It’s not just something you learn, it’s something you feel.

A lot of young people feel like their life is useless because if they think, ‘If I don’t have my culture, I don’t have me.’ They’re reaching out to to provide a voice for them and that’s the only thing we can do. It’s the least we can do. I get emails from people in Cambodia and they thank me for everything I do – I’m just like, ‘I don’t do anything. You tell me your reality and I just put it into words.’

I’ve learned so much about myself, my culture and my religion. I hope KKF can help effectively implement change — when we as an Indigenous group are recognized not only by the Cambodian government but by the Vietnamese government and Khmer people can openly practice our religion and language.”

Darline Ngeth, SAIT student, Legal Assistant diploma program

Editor’s note: Darline Ngeth is a youth member of the Khmer Kampuchea-Krom Federation (KKF), an organization advocating for the rights of Indigenous Khmer-Krom people living in the Mekong Delta and its surrounding regions of current day Vietnam. This spring, Ngeth travelled to New York City to have her speech delivered at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues[/text_block]has been going to the UN since I was a little girl. My favourite part was attending youth caucus.

Not only can we have our voices heard as an Indigenous organization, but we can talk about the problems that we, as young people, are facing. The theme this year was suicide.

A lot of what causes suicide in Cambodia, at least for youth, is loss of land and loss of identity. Your land is your livelihood. Also, loss of language is a big factor because language is alive, it’s breathing. It’s not just something you learn, it’s something you feel.

A lot of young people feel like their life is useless because if they think, ‘If I don’t have my culture, I don’t have me.’ They’re reaching out to

“I spent 21 years here, from 1981 - 2001, and I was involved with students in every capacity ― that’s what I remember and enjoyed the most.

Throughout my time at #SAIT I looked after six academic programs, I coached the golf team for about 15 years and I coached basketball and volleyball. I ran the outdoors club and we took students all over the place, skiing and hiking. We had many sports clubs at the time, including hang gliding, rifle and pistol and rodeo.

One of the things that stands out in my memory is that ran a staff fitness class for almost 15 years, called “Midday Madness”. It’s one of the things I remember most because it was a really wide, diverse group of people who came that class. Those fitness classes were quite famous actually. I had some people coming for 13 years ― it got to be quite a family thing.”

Bill Bradley, retiree, SAIT Campus Recreation

Editor’s note: Bill Bradley also happens to be the father of Julie McRuvie, who shared her #SAITstory last week. 

 

“I used to be the kid on the bus when my dad was the coach for the SAIT women’s basketball team, then called the Helenas. I would travel with the whole team for tournaments. I remember sitting on the bench thinking, ‘Look how big these players are  they’re so cool.’ 

And then, there I was ― by 19 years old, I was one of the players. When I played, we were called the Lady Trojans.

I would have worn this coat the whole time I was here at SAIT. Well, it was a winter coat, so when it was cold.

I recently pulled it out and I told my 12-year-old son to try it on. It was way too big for him, but it was cool for my kids to see their mom had this because they are now in sports … 

I had said to him, ‘Oh, look at the inside pocket, Ty. I used to carry my Walkman in that.’

And he said, ‘What is a Walkman?’”

Julie McRuvie, Dietary Technology ’94

Editor's note: The first Walkman was released by Sony Corp. in 1979, which paved the way for future portable music devices such as the portable CD player and MP3 player. The Walkman peaked in its popularity between 1987 - 1997.

See part 1 of Julie Mcruvie's story. 

“My first memory of SAIT is from 1981 when I was eight years old. My grandfather was a department head in the Metals department and my dad had just started a job here as an instructor and coordinator of campus recreation. I remember running down the sidewalk in front of Heritage Hall, thinking it looked like a castle, as my grandpa gave us a tour of the campus.

I attended summer basketball camps here every year from Grade 4 – 12, and I worked as a landscaper on the campus for the summer between my first and second year of my program. Now it’s 2016, and I’ve been an employee of SAIT for 18 years in the School of Health and Public Safety.

My whole family has a relationship with SAIT.

In 1967 my grandfather started work as an instructor then he became a department head before serving on the SAIT Instructors Association as well as SAIT's Board of Governors.

My grandmother attended evening classes for sewing in the late 1960s—around the same time that my dad graduated with a Business Administration diploma. And my uncle was a welding graduate in 1976. 

I graduated from Dietary Technology in 1994. My brother graduated as an electrician in 2000 and my husband graduated as a Partsmen in 2001.

So, yeah, I do feel like SAIT has been a very big part of my life.”

Julie McRuvie, nee Bradley, Dietary Technology ’94 | SAIT employee for 18 years (part 1 of 2)

"I was the youngest of 72 girls running in the competition that year. I was planning to see what it was like and run again in a few years when I was older, but I was lucky enough to see it all the way through. It was an incredible year — I was crowned a Stampede Princess. It opened a lot of doors for me. As I was finishing my last year of marketing at Mount Royal, I was able to use those contacts and I walked out of college with a job with the Calgary Stampeders.

My relationship with the Stampede grew and I was fortunate enough to come on board as Centennial Manager in 2012 — and it was such a great celebration. There was so much pride in the city for the Stampede, and I feel that same sense of pride now that I’m with SAIT. The Stampede centennial and the SAIT centennial are both city celebrations because both institutions have a rich history here and helped shape Calgary into what it is today.

For Stampede’s centennial, we did a city-wide fireworks show called, “Light up the City” presented by TransAlta. There were five fireworks locations synchronized to the same music — it was the largest synchronized fireworks show in Canada. I’m very excited that SAIT gets to open its doors on Oct. 16 to celebrate its 100th birthday and end the day with spectacular fireworks as well.”

Melissa McKay, SAIT Centennial Event Project Manager | Calgary Stampede Princess ’93 | Calgary Stampede Centennial Manager ‘12

"I have always been a fan of the parade, especially because it kicks-off Stampede week. I love everything about it, particularly the pipe bands.

I was a marshal for 20 years and my job was to keep people's bums on the curb and the horses on the street. I worked the first block of the parade where I'd shoo kids, and sometimes moms and dads, off the parade route and back onto the sidewalk. I'd also keep an eye on the horses. When horses get skittish, it's usually at the start.

All of them are pretty tame, but sometimes an inexperienced rider doesn't know how to work with a horse and the animal will go off course. The job of a marshal is to grab the reigns and redirect the horse back into a straight line. I only had to do that about a dozen times over my years as a street marshal.

One of my favorite parts of my role as a marshal was getting to see the same spectators return year after year to my spot on the route. Over the years, I got to see moms and dads with their little kids. Then the kids got older and they’d disappear for a few years. Then they’d come back as adults with kids of their own.”

John Dumonceaux, SAIT Alumnus BA ’94 | Development Officer, SAIT Alumni & Development | Stampede Parade volunteer for 27 years

“I was thinking I would have some practice for Provincial Skills, but it didn't happen like that. The first of May was the last time I practiced ... it was the Sunday before we got evacuated.

Before Opening Ceremonies, me and my mom sat behind Victoria on the bus. She was taking a Snapchat and I was kind of in the background. I said, "oh, sorry for photo bombing that!" She asked "do you want to get in it?"

We added each other on Snapchat and talked about what we were here for and how we were going to share the kitchen and stuff. She said if I need anything, I could use her tools and stuff like that, which was really nice of her. I didn't end up needing tools, but the opportunity was there, and it touched my heart that she was offering to do that for me.

Later I realized I didn’t have a neck tie, and Victoria had three of them, so she said "you can use this one!" I didn't know how to tie it but she did it for me before my competition started. When I took it off, I made sure that it stayed tied, so I could put it back on the next morning.”

Donella Marlowe-Bureau, Father Patrick Mercredi Community High School | Skills Canada National Competition 2016

Editor's note: High-school culinary competitor Donella Marlowe-Bureau was preparing for the National Skills Competition in Moncton, NB, when she was evacuated from her home in Fort McMurray last month. When she arrived at the competition, she found support with her fellow Alberta teammate Victoria Hislop, a post-secondary culinary competitor from SAIT.

“I came to Canada as an international student from Aden, Yemen. That’s around 12,626 km away from Calgary. I found a scholarship through a Canadian company, Nexen. I was lucky to be fully funded for school.

Although I left my loved ones and came alone, I made lots of friends and started my own family here. Throughout my stay, I have been involved in Canadian culture. I’ve learned lots of things and met many wonderful people.

Today, I am more open minded and more accepting. Diversity is the most amazing thing about Canada. The people do not care what colour I am, where I come from or whether I came from a rich, mid-class, or poor family …

My time here has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Canada is my home now and I belong here. I am not sure if I am staying, but I feel that I am not yet ready to return to Aden.

In Canada, you have no limitations. If you want to reach your hand to the sky, you can reach it here – nobody can restrict you.”

Mohammed Amin, Civil Engineering Technology ’14 | Bachelor of Science Construction Project Management ‘16

#SAITstory: “I was asked to take the role as Principal for one year. I thought ‘I’ll give it a try,’ but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t want to have that job. You know, being responsible for everything. But I couldn’t believe they had asked me, so that’s why I responded the way I did.

I loved going to work. That’s why I went to work early every morning. My wife, Margaret had to get my breakfast earlier for me, but it was so that when I was going from where I parked the car to the building where the office was, I’d meet hundreds of staff and students. And I never looked back.

I still don’t understand it. My wife didn’t think I was perfect (laughs). I’m not saying that staff thought I was perfect, but they gave me a good life or I wouldn’t have stayed.

At first, I was afraid of, you know, how things can go wrong no matter what you do to fix it, and people can hardly stand you anymore. If that happened, they didn’t let me know ― I didn’t sense it. Gosh, I was there a lot of years.”

Fred Jorgenson, SAIT’s first President

 
In memory of Fred Charles Jorgenson, May 27, 1923 – June 8, 2016

Fred Jorgenson dedicated 25 years to SAIT, most notably as Principal from 1962 - 1966, and then, as President from 1969 - 1984. He is remembered by peers for his commitment to staff and students as well as his belief in in providing a well-rounded student experience. Some of Jorgenson's greatest accomplishments ― and there were many ― include his leadership in building the first SAIT residence, Owasina Hall as well as the construction of the E. H. Crandell building and the Senator Burns building. During his leadership, Jorgenson made it a priority to know every staff member and student by name.

View the embedded image gallery online at:
http://sait100.ca/index.php/about/news-3#sigFreeIdd9d244274e

“Originally my plan was to go straight to university, but high school finals kind of screwed me over because I already had an early acceptance. I decided to come to SAIT to get my diploma and planned to go to uni after that. But then, I just fell in love with SAIT ... My family had said everything happens for a reason, you'll like SAIT more and all that. It was really encouraging.

My brothers are five and eight years older, so I couldn’t really do many childish things when I was little. They made me grow up pretty quick just hanging out with them. I learned stuff quicker, I guess. My brothers have really impacted me ... And my mom as well ― a lot. I guess at the end of the day, they just always believed in me and believed that I could pretty much do anything I wanted to. My brothers and I call an angel. She’s just the best lady out there, I guess. She’s always been there, always shown me love, always believed in me and she’s the most patient lady I know. I guess she’s always been the rock in our family ― that’s the best way to put it."

Moses Maina, CVT ’14 | BCPM ‘16

“Three years ago, when I first came to Canada, it was hard for me to speak with the people. They didn't understand my accent and I couldn't express my opinion completely. I felt really shocked and didn’t have much confidence. I didn’t want to talk to people ― I just wanted to go to school and go home. I got homesick and depressed easily.

But then I got involved with SAIT and the Calgary community ― Fort Calgary and The Mustard Seed ― and I became more confident.

At The Mustard Seed I was helping low-income people to use computers and other software to find jobs … I volunteered because one time I couldn't afford housing after becoming jobless. I lived in my friend's living room for a while. Sleeping on the coach is not a great feeling. It reminds me every day that I need to study and work hard.”

Lorie Tran, ITSD ’16 | 2015/16 SAITSA ITSD Club and VietSAIT Club President | 2015/16 Community Assistant, SAIT Residence

Editor’s note: After receiving an Associate Degree in International Business in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Lorie Tran came to Canada to travel and learn English. Along the way she rediscovered her passion for art and design. After overcoming a multitude of obstacles, including job loss, culture shock and language barriers, the 2016 software development graduate continued to pursue her dream of becoming a graphic designer and has recently been accepted to SAIT’s New Media Production and Design program.

“When I think of her, she was such a bright soul and a really good friend. But also, she loved mentoring students. 

When she got the job at SAITSA as the Managing Editor of The Weal, she really enjoyed it because she felt she had gained enough industry experience to come back and help students grow and learn.

And as a writer, she really was making a mark. She had worked for amazing publications like Alberta Views and had been published in Swerve Magazine. She really had a lot of potential …

She died May 27, 2008. Her birthday was July 3, 1977, so she was 30. 

I still shake my head and think, ‘Did that really happen?’ I don’t struggle to talk about it now, because I know we have to have these conversations and talk about it and try to support each other.

Things like our Sugar Bowl fundraiser are bittersweet in a lot ways. It can actually be really difficult for some people who go to it, and it might even be difficult for some family members to be part of it because it brings up why we’re doing it  we lost her in a tragic way.  

With what we’ve been able to do as her friends and family — to be able to make a foundation in her name — has been extra special to us because, it sounds cliché, but her memory is living on.”

Billie Rae Busby, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, SAIT Trojans | Vice President, Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation

The Amber Webb-Bowerman Memorial Foundation (AWBMF) was established in the summer of 2008 to honour and preserve the memory of journalist Amber Michelle Bowerman. AWBMF has since raised over $100,000 for emerging journalists and artists, including a bursary that has been funded in perpetuity for SAIT students.

Visit amberbowerman.ca to learn more about the foundation and their annual Sugar Bowl lawn bowling fundraiser.

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What's your #SAITstory? In celebration of 100 years, we're sharing the people stories that have collectively shaped our campus. Submit your story or tell us about someone else you think should be featured. 

#SAITstory: “I had been the General Manager since March, so it was only about two-and-a-half months in my new position. I woke up in the morning on June 22 and I thought, ‘Wow, it’s raining really hard.’ I got home from work that day and my sister said, ‘pack a bag, we have to leave,’ because we were living in #vicparkyyc .

So I left and thought, ‘Well, I’ll go back to SAIT.’ I got here and got a phone call that we’d be taking evacuees. I thought, ‘Oh my god,’ and was kind of freaking out a little bit. That was definitely an eye-opening experience because I was pretty new at my job at the time, still learning my place …

This past week of taking in the fire evacuees, we had double of what we had during the flood. It was easier because we knew where we went wrong the first time with some procedural things and we could draw on those experiences. A lot of the team is the same that was here in 2013, so they have done it before, too.”

Stephanie Woods, SAIT Alumna BA ’08 | General Manager, SAIT Residence

What's your ‪#‎SAITstory‬? In celebration of 100 years, we're sharing the stories that have collectively shaped who we are today. Tell us how you got here, why you have a special connection to the SAIT community or where your experience has brought you today. Or maybe you know a friend or family member's #SAITstory that needs to be told. We'd love to hear from you! Share your story here.

“One of my earliest memories of my dad was him actually being arrested on our front lawn. My two sisters and I were crying to the cops, ‘Please don’t hurt our dad!’

One thing I learned from my dad is that people really can change. I watched him change first-hand, not by changing his personality, but how he directed his energy.

When I was young, my mom moved around quite a bit and my dad had another family, so SAIT was kind of my go-to place. If my dad didn’t have anyone to watch me, I would hang out at the back of his accounting class and pretend I was a student. The first time I remember meeting my brothers, who were adopted, was at the swimming pool, and we went every year to SAIT Christmas parties. So all of the memories I had on campus with my dad were positive, whereas some of my other memories of him weren’t.

SAIT became a place that I knew, I was familiar with it, and I was comfortable here. It was always in the same location, it was always where I felt comfortable and it was always a positive place. I didn’t have any negative experiences here ― I knew it was here yesterday and it was going to be here tomorrow. I’ve watched the campus evolve, but it still had that same feeling about it. It’s always felt like home to me.”  

Krista Craig, JA ’00 | SAIT employee, 15 years | Communications Specialist

What's your ‪#‎SAITstory‬? In celebration of 100 years, we're sharing the stories that have collectively shaped who we are today. Tell us how you got here, why you have a special connection to the SAIT community or where your experience has brought you today. Or maybe you know a friend or family member's #SAITstory that needs to be told. We'd love to hear from you! Share your story here.

“Part of why SAIT is so important to me is because it saved my life ... I spent 17 years of my life involved with crime and violence and various problems with the police.

I came to SAIT in 1973 and negotiated my in way as a student ― the associate dean gave me a chance, even though I only had grade 11. The key was the assistant dean and the instructors really were an inspiration for me. They recognized something in me that nobody had ever seen ― they recognized potential and possibility. And with my willingness to explore that, they were willing to help me out and guide me. I graduated with honours.

Then later, I became an instructor, and then an ordained minister. And now I am onto my next career, which is Santa Claus ― I turned pro last year."

Doug Craig, BAAC ’75 | SAIT Instructor, School of Business SAIT Alumni | Santa Claus

What's your ‪#‎SAITstory‬? In celebration of 100 years, we're sharing the stories that have collectively shaped who we are today. Tell us how you got here, why you have a special connection to the SAIT community or where your experience has brought you today. Or maybe you know a friend or family member's #SAITstory that needs to be told. We'd love to hear from you! Share your story here.

“I sponsor an award for K'àlemì Dene in N'Dilo, an aboriginal community outside of Yellowknife. It’s for the most outstanding student of the year award, except it’s not for not the top student in the class, or the student that gets the highest grades. I wanted this award to encourage students to do their best, and their best may not be that they are at the top of the class. I want kids to know that even though they may not be the best in their class, doing the best they can is still worth it in the end. I want them to enjoy school.

I was never an honor roll student or straight-a student, and I struggled through school … I had no idea that I was going to end up doing and being this one day … I think the dawning moment was that I finally realized that I wanted to do something for myself and not something that people expected of me or that I felt I should be doing. I am doing what I love to do.”

Sarah Erasmus, DGC '10 | 2015 Oustanding Young Alumna | Founder and co-owner, Erasmus Apparel 

What's your ‪#‎SAITstory‬? In celebration of 100 years, we're sharing the stories that have collectively shaped who we are today. Tell us how you got here, why you have a special connection to the SAIT community or where your experience has brought you today. Or maybe you know a friend or family member's #SAITstory that needs to be told. We'd love to hear from you! Share your story here.

In 2011, pastry chef Victoria German, with the support of her colleague Ian Bragoli, led a team of six students to create and serve a collection of delicate desserts for the Government of Alberta Reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Prince William and Kate Middleton).  

“As I knew they were coming toward us, it was the exact same feeling I had walking down the aisle ― was so nervous. My heart was just thumping, and I was just trying to calm myself down. When I finally saw them I was just thinking, ‘She’s wearing Diana’s ring.’ And just to see it in real life ― that was what was really cool for me. I remember when Prince William was born, and I was living in Britain when Diana was a really big deal. So there’s lots of history that went along with it for me.  

This was a highlight of my career as a pastry chef … I was allowed to really create whatever I wanted. I just felt like this is the most VIP function that I’ll ever be, I guess, in charge of. And these people have seen the best of everything, so you have to go in and impress to this level. It just felt really rewarding as people were tasting the pastries, they kept coming back and were just kind of hovering like little bees around the table. It just felt so good … I wanted to impress them, and it worked ― I pulled it off.”

Victoria German, Instructor, School of Hospitality and Tourism

What’s your #SAITstory? Tell us how your SAIT experience has shaped or inspired you, why you have a special connection to this community or how you’ve made an impact. Or let us know of someone else who deserves to be recognized! Share your story here.