Sunday, July 14, 2024

An islander through and through

By Minal Abhange

“A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Monty Edwards strongly believes these words, they provided the motivation that transported him almost 4,000 kilometres away from his home in the Clarendon Parish of Jamaica to chase his dream of  of becoming an electrical engineer.

When he started his research into post-secondary training two years ago, he came across the Construction/Industrial Electrician Program offered at CNA’s Happy ValleyGoose Bay campus. It was then that he decided to leave the serene and scenic landscapes of Jamaica and explore the rugged terrain, and at times frigid temperatures, of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Monty with Jordan Curl, CNA Instructor of the Construction/Industrial Electrician program, receiving the Valedictorian Award at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus graduation ceremony.

“In my initial online research, when I decided to come to Canada to further my education, the Construction/Industrial Electrician program offered at CNA was a perfect fit for me,” he says, “Further, I was persuaded to choose CNA, as the tuition costs and the on-campus accommodation were considerably affordable compared to other places.”

Moving away from Jamaica did not come easy, but Monty says this challenge just made him stronger.  

“I consider myself determined, and in my time at CNA I have just discovered a lot can change with a positive attitude. I have learned a lot of new skillsets, with the help of my peers and instructors. I was on several occasions surprised of some of the things I can do under pressure. My wife, Charmaine, plays an instrumental role in my success.”

Monty says that even as a child he was electronically inclined, he believes this is what led to his pursuit of an Industrial Electrician diploma in Jamaica.

“While other kids played soccer in the park, I locked myself indoors repairing electric circuits and computer parts. After I pursued education in Jamaica, I was looking to further my interest and was considering education in Canada and came across CNA, which was the right fit for me and my prior academic background helped bridge my career goals.”

Monty’s most memorable part of studying at CNA was the close-knit classes and the openness he shared with the instructors. He was also able to develop a close circle of friends as a Resident Assistant at the campus.

“Working as the Resident Assistant has its perks. It helped me manage my living expense. It also helped me hone my social skills and confidence. I met some amazing friends, and it was an amazing experience.”

Monty, shown with Jordan Curl, CNA Instructor of the Construction/Industrial Electrician program, receiving the Valedictorian Award at the Happy Valley-Goose Bay campus graduation ceremony.

Monty’s hard work paid off both academically and personally.

“I won the Valedictorian Award, I graduated top of my class. This is certainly one of the biggest milestones of my life, and I feel more accomplished and confident as I am one step closer to my lifelong dream.”

In his Valedictory speech he said, “I am deeply honored today to stand before you as your valedictorian. It is said that a journey begins with a single step, and it seems like it was just yesterday that my wonderful wife and I arrived here in Goose Bay for the start of my program. With approximately a year now elapsed with you all. I can truly say it was well worth it, and well spent.”

After graduation, Monty says he has been actively seeking employment within the province, as works toward completing an apprenticeship and preparing for the Real Seal exam. Once that is done, the next step is pursuing a Bachelors of Electrical Engineering.

“When you want to pursue your dreams, don’t doubt yourself – just keep moving and follow your passion and don’t mind the obstacles that come in your way. They help build your character and define who you are. At the end of it all, you will know it was all worth it.”

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Glenda Tompkins
Glenda Tompkins
Glenda is a 20-year marketing and communications veteran currently specializing in photography/videography and social media management. She has garnered multiple awards for her innovative, strategic campaigns at CNA. Her experience includes writing, editing, graphic design, event planning, and more. When she’s not reviewing social media engagement analytics, she enjoys spending quality time with her young family.


  1. Yes, you are just beginning, wait a little while they will see that even the sky is not far away. Your goal will be passed without you even noticing,


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