Ruixin (Rayna) Li was excited to attend her first hockey game ever at Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes, but it was made extra special for the Fleming International student because she got to perform the ceremonial puck drop.
Fleming 50th Anniversary Night at the Peterborough Petes was September 21st and recognized the College’s 50th Anniversary. Rayna, who is an International Student Ambassador at Fleming College and a Director on the Fleming College Student Administrative Council (SAC), was asked by Fleming SAC to drop the puck on the ice at the home opener game.
“I thought I just got free tickets, I didn’t realize I got to drop the puck until a few days before the game,” said Rayna, who moved from China to take Fleming’s Business Administration – Accounting program. “It’s like winning the lottery for me. My first hockey game and I get to drop the puck? It’s like a miracle.”
To prepare, Rayna researched hockey online and watched YouTube videos of the game. “I didn’t know how to drop the puck. Should I throw it like a basketball?” she said. After her research, Rayna felt ready.
“The act is simple but it’s so special to drop it in that moment because it is the College’s 50th Anniversary. Dropping the puck felt like a fresh start in that moment for the next 50 years of Fleming College,” said Rayna, who is in her second year of studies at Fleming College.
She thanks the College and Fleming SAC for the incredible opportunity. “I never thought I’d get to walk on a red carpet like a movie premiere,” said Rayna, referring to the red carpet laid on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop. “I called my mom and friends in China, and they’re all proud of me.”
Walking in front of a large crowd at a hockey arena would’ve been out of Rayna’s comfort zone just one year ago when she first came to Canada.
“When I was in China I was the quiet girl, and my first month here my English was so bad so I was quiet here too,” she said. “I stopped at the SAC Office asking how I could get involved. I wanted to improve my English and I was lonely because it was only my boyfriend [a Frost Campus GIS graduate] and I here.”
SAC helped Rayna get involved on campus and in the community through volunteer opportunities, which she said helped build her confidence. She took the Leadership program at Fleming, got hired as an International Student Ambassador, became a SAC Director, and got a part-time job at Burger King to earn extra money.
“Now I am very outgoing. It has also built up my time management skills,” said Rayna, who enjoys having a lot on the go. “I got the highest GPA in my first year and I do not find it stressful, it is a driving force for me. My English is good now, and Fleming College and SAC really helped me.”
In addition to thanking the College for helping her gain confidence, Rayna also credits Fleming for making her a hockey fan.
“I like it because it’s a fast-paced game and it’s a very Canadian game. The audience cheering feels very enthusiastic and positive,” she said. “My friend said I’m a true Canadian now.”