The event is done. At 4:30, I went down to meet T, C (T’s “old lady”), R, & S (R’s sister). No one was there. I wandered back and forth for a while and, eventually, received a text from Tyson. “on my way” I said, “I’ll message Randy, see if he needs help with his tie or something.” Turns out I messaged T instead. I called R. “Yup, yup, we’re on our way.” Everyone was in suits and gowns.
We stood in a parlour with several dozen (hundred?) other people with wine glasses and talked and met other ASET members. Finally, T said, “Let’s go sit down.”
The room filled up, 9-10 people per table – knees squeezed in – and 24 tables – and the speeches began. The keynote speaker started. Aboriginal drummers and singers did a welcome performance in their own language as a show of ASET’s recognition of their ancestral land. One boy, doing traditional chanting and singing, apparently started when he was 2 years old! There was an invocation (blessing) & toast to Canada.
Then the dinner was served. It started with buns and a salad with nuts & berries. Brisket beef, mashed potatoes, a few vegetables were the main course. Really good.
Then the awards came. They recognized and gave award pins for 50, 40, 30, and 20 years of service to ASET. The trend to clap after every recipient was started, so it went that way to the end. There were 3 recipients of 50, I think 8 of 40, and many more for 30 and 20.
Then, the moment we three were waiting for – the ASET Capstone Project of the Year Award. Our pictures flashed up on the giant screens, one on each side of the stage. They called our names, we went up, and they handed us all framed plaques with our names, achievement, and where we were representing (Lethbridge College) and shook our hands. The speaker read a description of our project and, in the middle, turned to us and said, “This is complicated stuff, you guys!” We all laughed. Then Randy made a speech. He had it written down but also added to it. He’s a good speaker. The announcer then turned to me and T, and T pulled us out of the fire saying, “He speaks for all of us.” We lined up on stage. Tyson had to cram in there with R at the end and scooted me over. I nudged the announcer, who happened to be the President-Elect for the next coming term, and he stumbled. “Sorry!” We all had our pictures taken by various photographers, then we left the stage. I guess I should have used the stairs, but I saw one other guy stumble and various others eyeing the steps cautiously while going down, so I just leapt to the floor (one big step).
Then there were the other awards to Technologist of the Year (Patty Podoborozny, C.E.T., PWSIII), First Principle Award (Enbridge Pipelines Inc.), Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion (Calgary Catholic Immigration Society), President’s Award for Vounteer of the Year (Negar Machie, P.Tech.(Eng.)), President’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring (Sabrina Pelley, C.E.T.), and President’s Award (Peter Portlock, CD, MHSA). There was also a surprise award to the current President’s mentor – cannot recall his name now. Then, a closing speech shortly after 9:00pm.
Various people came by to congratulate and chat with us, the most notable for me being KL from MPE Engineering in Lethbridge. He’s in materials testing. He congratulated us all and asked if we had found work. Tyson stated that I had not. I stuck out my hand – “Allan Johnston!” After smiles and more handshakes, he asked, “Are you interested in a position at MPE Engineering?” He wrote his email address on T’s card (as I didn’t really want to hand out or show cards that says “Allan Johnston – Children’s English Teacher” on it. He asked me to email him when I got back to Lethbridge for an interview.