Valedictorian Lyndin Belleau finds home away from home at Fleming College

Lyndin Belleau was nervous to leave his home in Garden River First Nation, east of Sault Ste. Marie. In high school, Lyndin was told students are just numbers at colleges and universities, and that wasn’t something he was used to—and luckily, it isn’t something he ever has to.

“My experience at Fleming was nothing that I imagined. Fleming gave me so many opportunities that I don’t think any other college would have been able to provide me,” said Lyndin. “All my professors knew my name. It was nothing like they tell you in high school where you’re only known as a number.”

Lyndin took the Business Administration – Human Resources Management program because he wanted to work with people. He describes the Sutherland Campus in Peterborough, Ont., as amazing, with the beauty of the countryside and the convenience of city life.

To complement his studies, Lyndin worked as a Career Services Assistant with Fleming Career Services from September 2016 to April 2019. “Working with Career Services provided me with opportunities that the classroom couldn’t,” said Lyndin, who credits Job Fair planning as one of the skill-building experiences he gained on the job.

“But also learning a completely different side of business,” he explained. “In HR, we learn what is best for the business, whereas in Career Services we tailor services to the student/client to get them into the job. It was a great experience learning a completely different side from [Career Educators] Joanne Duffy and Lou Anne Hanes.”

Lyndin also volunteered his time on campus, sharing information with prospective students at Fleming’s Open House events, welcoming new students at Fleming Knights Orientation, recruiting new team members to Enactus Fleming during its inaugural year, and more. But its his involvement with Indigenous Student Services that Lyndin considers very special.

“I consider Indigenous Student Services one of my saviors during my time at Fleming,” said Lyndin, who participated in Tipi Tuesdays and Medicine Walks. “During my time at Fleming, I gained more then just a support system from Indigenous Student Services; I gained relationships from both the staff and students who accessed the lounge. The staff in Indigenous Student Services (Ashley Safar and Kylie Fox-Peltier) have a way of making the lounge feel like it’s a home away from home. They make everyone feel welcomed and are always willing to help when they can.”

Lyndin said he never expected to become so involved at Fleming College, but is glad he did.

“Getting involved on campus made my entire college experience that much better,” said Lyndin. “My time at Fleming had so many great experiences, in both the classroom and out of the classroom.”

One of his favourite experiences at Fleming was the Travel-Based Learning course, where Lyndin and his classmates travelled to Jamaica with two faculty members for one week. “This course allowed me to travel internationally for the first time, to experience different cultures, explore the tourism industry and how it works, and as well as having fun,” he said.

Lyndin said the Business Administration – Human Resources Management program prepared him for his career and he is already putting his knowledge into action as a Human Resources Assistant at Garden River First Nation, where he is working for a third summer. In September, Lyndin plans to continue his studies at Laurentian University, where he will study Sports Administration. Lyndin hopes to one day work in Human Resources at a sports organization.

But before that, Lyndin will serve as Valedictorian at the School of Business convocation ceremony this week.

“Being selected as Valedictorian was like a mix of emotions. I felt excited, scared, nervous, honoured and shocked all at the same time,” he said. “The message that I am trying to give to graduates is to never give up on continuing your journey in life, whether it is educational, workplace, or just life in general. You’ll always have a place at Fleming.”