There are some students who really make a difference for the benefit of the college community and Paul Hyzims is one of them at Northwest Community College (NWCC). A recent graduate of the Work Skills Training program in the Adult Special Education department, Paul has been actively engaged in student life at the Terrace Campus since September 2014.
While taking upgrading courses in English, Math and Work Skills, Hyzims took part in the campus recycling program throughout the school year with his classmates. In January, he took on the role of Residence Assistant (RA) while living in the student dorms, where he helped ensure the safety and wellbeing of students living on campus.
“Paul demonstrated leadership and I knew we could rely on him,” said Noelle Bulleid, NWCC Residence Life Facilitator. “He also always took an interest in helping at campus events, workshops and student activities, and he was always reaching out to get other students involved.”
Shortly after becoming a RA, Hyzims joined the Student Ambassador Program.
The NWCC Student Ambassador Program enables students to gain volunteer work experience by helping to facilitate activities that bring the college community together. It aims to recognize students for their participation, initiative and leadership.
Hyzims was born in Hazelton and grew up in Gitsegukla. He is Gitxsan from the Eagle Clan, where he is a wing chief (or warrior). Through this role he serves his house chief and watches out for clan members.
“Warriors are like the eyes and ears of the house chief and, contrary to its name, we are actually peacekeepers,” said Hyzims. “If there are conflicts between house members, the wing chief helps resolve them and get rid of the negative energy.”
As part of his studies, Hyzims did a practicum in the NWCC cafeteria kitchen last spring. He finished his second practicum with the Facilities & Maintenance department.
“Paul is a very hard worker,” said Ingrid Ross, Instructional Assistant for Adult Special Education. “He wants to meet everybody, so it’s good that he was able to work with the public in these practicums.”
Hyzims was recently hired for a full-time job with NWCC Facilities & Maintenance after a vacancy came up for a labourer position. In his first few weeks on the job he asked the college if he could start a small vegetable and herb garden.
“I learned to work the soil as a child, helping my mom in her potato garden,” said Hyzims.
Now the Terrace Campus is growing cherry tomatoes, squash, purple sage, bell peppers, chives, and more in front of the Waap Haawk cafeteria.
“We recognized Paul’s great work ethic during his two work practicums and in his roles as Student Ambassador and Residence Assistant,” said Kerry Clarke, Director of Facilities & Ancillary Services at NWCC. “He is a valued member of our team.”
Hyzims has been accepted into the Professional Cook 1 program and will start his studies in August. He plans on going through all levels of the Cook program and earn a Red Seal designation.
“My dream is to start a bakery in the Northwest, where I could serve customers through a home delivery truck and clients could put in orders by phone or on the web,” said Hyzims. “Right now, I’m really enjoying my new summer job, before classes begin.”
When asked for his thoughts about his recent achievements, Hyzims responded: “Strong will leads you a long way.”