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2021 Student Awards Announced

May 25, 2021 | Institution / General, News

OTTERBURNE, MB – The 2020/2021 academic year has come to a close which means it is time to recognize some of our students’ academic accomplishments. Due to continuing pandemic issues, we are once again unable to host the annual Awards Lunch, Graduation Banquet, or Graduation Ceremony in person and on campus. So, like last year, we are turning to digital celebrations and announcements.

We are excited about our upcoming ‘Virtual Graduation’ and invite both the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes to join us on Saturday, May 29th via Facebook or YouTube. The event will premiere live at 2:00 pm CDT. Our valedictorians for this year are Will Dueck (University College) and Egon Sawatzky Friesen (Seminary).

In this article, we are recognizing the students, graduates and non-graduates, who have won awards this year and acknowledge them for their academic achievement.


YEONJUN CHOI was selected for the Student Life Leadership Award, and the International Achievement Award – “Yeonjun is a rare breed: one of a kind of people who combine the love for the English language with the love for Mathematics. She is focused, determined and does more than what she needs to succeed. She is a good team player. She also works very well independently and demonstrated this with excellent performance in two advanced directed (independent) studies in Mathematics. I have no doubt that she will thrive in whatever she does, whether in teaching English as an additional language or in providing leadership.” – Dr. Yinka Bammeke, Associate Professor of Mathematics

KYLE DUECK was selected for the Stewart and Elizabeth Battram Scholarship Award, and the Clyde Krant Memorial Award – “Kyle is a worthy recipient of these two particular awards. First, his Accumulated Grade Point Average of a perfect 4.00 is only one piece of evidence pointing to his stellar academic abilities. In his confident manner, he has been a consistent student and is a level-headed ambassador for Providence and particularly for the Buller School of Business. He continues to live out his solid faith as a Christ follower, through his growing understanding of all things business, notably in entrepreneurship, while also having a clear social conscience to consider what impact new business ideas have upon the broader society. I have observed Kyle developing into a more mature individual who is recognized as a leader among his peers, a sound business thinker, and a person who goes out of his way to help others. He pushes himself to be the best that he can be, and without even trying to, he makes everyone else around him in the class better. He is not afraid to respectfully challenge other peoples’ ideas and opinions. I believe that Kyle embodies what it means to be a student at Providence, as he is encouraging, godly, hard working, and just a generally great student. Well done!” – Dr. Jeremy Funk, Director of Buller School of Business

WILL DUECK was one of three students awarded the A.B.H.E. Honor Society Delta Epsilon Chi Award – “For all his time at Providence, Will has been an outstanding young man. When you see the fruits that he bears, you understand that Will has a servant heart. His community involvement, friendship, and care for his peers speak highly of his love for Jesus. He has been a leader in residence but also led by example in the classroom by keeping a high commitment to his studies. I had the chance to coach Will in our basketball program for two years, and he brought a special kind of energy and passion for his teammates that you don’t see every day. On behalf of all the Providence community and everybody that Will has impacted here, congratulations and best of luck for your future!” – Pierre Dubreuil, Head Coach Men’s Basketball

WAEDON DUECK was selected for the Sophomore/Junior Class Award – “Waedon is a student who leads, over-achieves, and fully commits to the Providence community. While pursuing a four-year Bachelor of Science Health Science major with a Mathematics minor, Waedon still makes time for basketball, student leadership, chapels, spiritual mentorship, and volunteer opportunities.” – Dr. Rebecca Dielschneider, Assistant Professor of Biology

JENNA ENNS was selected for the Sheil’s Memorial Award for Missions and was one of three students awarded the A.B.H.E. Honor Society Delta Epsilon Chi Award– “Jenna has a vision and passion for cross-cultural work. She also truly values other people’s stories and listens to and learns from others easily. She is not only a gifted student, but also a highly competent teacher who has a special interest in missions. Jenna cares deeply about the needs of her learners. She is dedicated to student success and she seeks to fully understand the challenges that her students face. She has served cross-culturally and knows what is required to build bridges in challenging situations. I am confident that she will make a significant difference in the lives of her students and that she will be a light wherever she goes. It has been an honour to be a part of her journey”- Catherine Rust-Akinbolaji, University College Dean and Assistant Professor of TESOL

MADISON FRANKS was selected for the Freshman Class Award – “There are times teachers feel like failed sales(wo)men, unable to convince students course material is worth serious investment. But every now and again, students come along who need no sales pitch. They recognize on their own the value of study and research and careful thinking. Madison Franks is certainly among them. A study of systemic racism in Canada this past semester was a stand-out effort, making clear she recognized the value of research in the humanities. I admire her work ethic, creativity, and thoughtfulness.” – Dr. Michael Gilmour, Professor of New Testament and English Literature

Maddie is an engaged, energetic, and enthusiastic student who is often the first to notice and do things pertaining to her studies.  Her sincerity and positivity are exemplary, constantly inspiring her classmates and professors alike to do better.  Being such a progressive difference-maker within Providence suggests the great potential she has to be such a difference-maker beyond Providence.” – Dr. Dennis Hiebert, Professor of Sociology

ETHAN HOEKSTRA was selected for the Biblical Studies Award – “Ethan Hoekstra is the deserving recipient of this year’s Biblical Studies Award. Those of us who teach the subject appreciate students both curious and enthusiastic about their studies and Ethan is certainly both. He is thoughtful and creative, consistently brings penetrating questions and observations to the day’s conversation, and is interdisciplinary in his thinking, exploring ways to combine his interests in Bible and media. Biblical and theological studies involve more than the mere accumulation of facts about the remote past. They require constant ‘translation’ of that material so it speaks meaningfully to each new generation, and Ethan – with his work ethic, serious commitment to Christian studies, and attention to popular culture – is well-positioned to do just that.” – Dr. Michael Gilmour, Professor of New Testament and English Literature

CURTIS HOFER was selected for the Student Life Leadership Award – “Curtis has made a valuable contribution to life at Providence this year. He is a servant leader who plugs in wherever and whenever needed. His work this year for Wednesday Community Chapels has demonstrated his willingness to go above and beyond.” – Dr. Christopher Lortie, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies

Curtis Hofer has been diligently working behind the scenes for the last three years at Providence. Whether he was crunching numbers for StuCo or working the A/V for chapel, he was a model of servant leadership who quietly led with great integrity.” – Angelle Arinobu, First Year Experience Coordinator

JOSHUA HOOGERDIJK was selected for the H.H. Janson Memorial Award – “Josh is a special student here at Providence. He has shown exceptional leadership and academic excellence, both at a formal and informal level. I have had the privilege to know Josh for quite some time now, and all I can say is Providence is lucky to have him continuing on in his studies here. As he looks to make the switch from the university to the seminary, one thing will remain the same: His passion for the school will continue to be present here in Otterburne.” – Clark Nachtigall, Community Life Coordinator

MARIGOLD PETERS was selected for the R. Wesley Affleck Graduate Award, the George Sinderson Award for Field Education, the Mary Hiebert Memorial Award for Humanitarian Service, and was one of three students awarded the A.B.H.E. Honor Society Delta Epsilon Chi Award – “Marigold is an exemplary student demonstrating academic excellence, leadership skills and service to the community. She brings an enthusiasm and kindness to her interaction with fellow students that has always impressed me. Learning is a joy for Marigold, and she goes beyond expectations to interact with academic material and grow from it. She is not afraid of asking hard questions of scripture and seeking ways to integrate it into her work outside the classroom.” – Dr. Heather Macumber, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies

REBEKAH STEVENSON was selected for the Social Sciences Award – “Bekah Stevenson is an exceptional student. Having had her in both Bible and English literature classes, it is clear she reads well and attentively. A memorable moment for me is Bekah’s diorama for a course on The Chronicles of Narnia. Though a ‘light’ assignment in terms of grades, she put a great deal of effort into the project. With the 2020–2021 school year feeling like it was always winter but never Christmas, her creative efforts introduced a touch of needed colour and whimsy to the darkness and cold. All her hard work is much appreciated by her Providence instructors.” – Dr. Michael Gilmour, Professor of New Testament and English Literature

“Bekah is a bold student of human life who has used her university education to grow into her own person with much greater understanding of herself and her social environment. She played soccer and worked part-time while remaining engaged with her peers in ways that press forward into a better future. Her honours thesis is publishable, and she will no doubt go much further in her academic and/or professional career.” – Dr. Dennis Hiebert, Professor of Sociology

KAITLYN WARKENTINE was selected for the C.W. Hiebert Memorial Award for Graduate Studies – “Kaitlyn Warkentine has been a joy to teach. She is wise, kind, ambitious, and consistently hardworking. She has earned her place on the Dean’s list every semester while at Providence. We wish her all the best as she pursues veterinary medicine.” – Dr. Rebecca Dielschneider, Assistant Professor of Biology


SARAH BARKMAN was selected for the Biblical and Theological Research Award – Sarah is a fine student who listens well, thinks deeply and writes with precision and insight. She is attentive to the workings of God in herself, her relationships, and the world around her. She seeks to apply theological concepts to her growing vocational interests and is a godly example of ‘faith seeking understanding.’ I have appreciated Sarah’s contributions and quiet leadership in our class time, and her many gifts which are offered to the rest of the Providence community. She has done the good and necessary work of exemplary biblical scholarship this year, and we honour her efforts today.” – Gavin Hall, Instructor in Christian Ministries

SHELLEY BURRY was one of two students selected for the Student Life Award – “Shelley is the recipient of the Student Life Award. Through her dedication to Zoom chapel involvement as well as thoughtful participation in classes with her fellow students, Shelley has shown herself to be a positive and delightful student and future counsellor.” – Janice Priess, Assistant Professor of Counselling Psychology

ANGELA CHAN was selected for the Joseph MacAulay Scholarship Award – “Angela is a gifted counselling student; both academically and clinically. It has been a pleasure to watch her counselling skills grow in depth and breadth throughout the years of her training. She is motivated, flexible, teachable, and open, and she will be a great gift to her future clients and colleagues. Well done, Angela! It is wonderful to celebrate the successful completion of your Master’s degree along with you. This is one significant stepping stone on what I’m sure will be a rewarding career in counselling for you. I’m excited to see where God next leads you.” – Dr. Sharon Pham, Associate Professor of Counselling Psychology

DION GINGERICH was selected for the Myrna Gordon Award – “Dion Gingerich has worn a few different hats around the seminary but one thing that has remained consistent is his ministry within and outside the Providence campus. Dion is a community-oriented person who has shown an invested interest in whatever he is learning or teaching. Regardless of what community he lands in, Dion’s ministry will have a great impact.” – Angelle Arinobu, Assistant Professor of Counselling Psychology

Stemming from his deep love for the church and a burgeoning desire to learn, Dion has wholeheartedly committed himself to his studies. Dion has grown tremendously during his time at Providence and has demonstrated the potential to provide theological leadership to the church.” – Dr. Robert Dean, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics

KIRSTIN KROEKER was selected for the Oral Communication Award – “I have had the pleasure of knowing Kirstin well before she started studying in the seminary. She has demonstrated a dedication to the work of the Church through her adult life. As a new student in the seminary this year, she did not hesitate to get involved as a regular reader of Scripture during chapels and I am looking forward to her getting more opportunities to flex her skills as an orator in the Providence community.” – Angelle Arinobu, Assistant Professor of Counselling Psychology

BARRY MAURER was selected for the Expository Preaching Award – “Barry possesses the rare combination of gifts – a sensitive pastoral heart, a deep love for and knowledge of Scripture, and a Gospel-attuned imagination – that distinguish him as a preacher of unusual quality and character.” – Dr. Robert Dean, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics

RANDELL TOEWS REMPEL was one of two students selected for the Student Life Award – “In addition to being an exceptionally diligent and conscientious student, Randall has invested joyfully and thoughtfully in the spiritual nurture of the Seminary community, particularly in his role as Chapel Assistant during the Winter term. In that capacity, he has been open to learning, willing to put in whatever planning time was necessary, and theologically attentive to the needs of the Seminary community and to the invitation to participate in the communion of the saints. This combination of qualities has brought life to the Seminary this year and will contribute to the flourishing of communities that Randell participates in in the future.” – Dr. Joshua Coutts, Assistant Professor of New Testament

JON VAN KOUGHNETT was selected for the Dave Deschenes Counselling Award – “Throughout his time at Providence, Jon has demonstrated a dedication to academic excellence, an enjoyment of learning, and a commitment in his own personal and professional growth. I have valued Jon’s authentic engagement with faculty and students, and I have appreciated his genuine and thoughtful approach within the Providence community. Jon has a natural presence that offers authentic hospitality and safety for those around him and is a gift that Jon has brought to both Providence, as well as his own church community in his role as a pastor and counsellor.” – Nathan Hughes, Coordinator and Student Liaison of Distance Education