On Saturday November 14, 2020 we held our first ever virtual convocation, honouring the academic achievements of our latest colleagues in Holistic Nutrition. At every step, towards re-creating the space to continue delivering IHN’s program to returning, new and Continuing Education students, we became better at navigating the online platform. Convocations have always been an emotional and celebratory occasion lauding the excellence and transformation of each graduate. The November 2020 convocation was the last significant element of our program that we delivered online. We worked hard to recognize an incredibly resilient and spirited group of students who overcame highly unexpected obstacles this year, but with dedication, succeeded.

Thank you to all graduates and their families for the lively and expressive comments in our chat during the ceremony! It meant the world to have us feel the presence of your energy, encouragement and love.

The ceremony opened with a video highlighting IHN’s unique program offerings, followed by opening remarks from Elizabeth. We played a second video featuring the three (of many) pathfinders in holistic nutrition–Linus Pauling, Max Gerson and Bernard Jensen. This video also shared special moments throughout the student’s time at IHN, such as their unique “nutrition slogans”, being together on farm trips and herb walks as well as snapshots into daily life on campus. We heard inspiring messages from our valedictorians who did a phenomenal job at representing this graduating group. Valedictorians were nominated by their fellow classmates for their outstanding involvement and support of their peers.

We heard heartening speeches from two of our beloved faculty, Linda Bazinet represented the Ontario campuses and Sidney Shindle represented the Vancouver campus. The administrative staff from each campus shared words of encouragement. Elizabeth returned for a final message to congratulate graduates on their perseverance for completing IHN’s intensive program. We then awarded the Diplomas and Certificates and concluded the ceremony by reciting the IHN school poem.

A new group of CNPs are now equipped to enter the workforce, armed with the knowledge and skillset to carry on IHN’s mission of healing the planet one person at a time. We captured a few words from this year’s valedictorians to share with you.

Bashar Mutlak | Toronto Campus

“Those first few weeks at IHN felt, in so many ways, like we had finally arrived to our chosen family, and our new home. Suddenly, we were surrounded with like-minded individuals who had all taken different paths in life, only to come to the same conclusion – that, we are in fact, facing a global challenge: modern medicine, with all of its wonders and the ability to prolong life, wasn’t in fact, translating into healthy living. Sure, people were living longer…but, were they healthful? Were they happier? Diet-related chronic diseases are at an all-time high – and we knew there had to be a better way. The first step, was recognizing the regenerative, resilient power of food — and so, we undertook the challenge to become Holistic Nutritionists with open hearts and fierce determination.” 

Diana Quartarone | Toronto Campus

“The energy that flowed in and out of our classroom each and every day was outstanding and could be seen by all even the students that came to join us part time.  I was very proud to hear what a unique punch we were because that meant that the energy, respect and appreciation we had for one another was real. There were days were the emotions were extremely high and very low but we all appreciated each other’s feelings.  Hugs were a must on those days and so were words of encouragement and even a cupcake and card could make any day bright. Aside from the knowledge, you have given us the same passion, respect and love for our credentials.  This class of 2020 which I am so proud to be a part of, is truly going to pave the way that we, as Certified Nutritional Practitioners’ will make a difference.”

Joseph Martino | Mississauga Campus

“…you are exactly what the world needs right now. I’ve seen first-hand the passion and serving nature you all have. You are electric souls taking the mess of those who are undone and making that mess your own – slowly stitching health back together, with what most would consider, fringe tools and less mainstream methods. But we know how powerful these tools are at healing any one individual. And for that I would call you the renegades of health, the change agents and change makers implementing the learnings from rebels and pioneers before us.”

Syed Samdani | Mississauga Campus

“IHN has provided us with a strong foundation and an honourable designation. It is now our job to take this achievement to the next level. I would like to conclude my speech with two final messages for my fellow graduates: First, after our Professional Practice course, I’m sure we are all fired up to put our plans for setting up our businesses and passion projects in action. However, I’d like to take a moment to say: Life can be unpredictable in all sorts of ways. And it never slows down for anyone. We all might have different timelines on which we’ll achieve our goals, and that’s okay! It doesn’t matter if we launch our businesses this year, next year, or the year after that, so long as we have a plan, don’t lose focus and don’t let any unexpected delays dampen our passion. Second, if we truly want to succeed, we need to be a firm believer in the “abundance mentality,” meaning “there is enough for everyone.” Instead of working in silos, we must be ready to support one another and share our knowledge, our resources, our wins, our challenges, and our experiences. This attitude will put us on the fast track to conquering our goals and achieving our dreams of helping others. I have full faith that although today marks the end of one academic journey together, it will prove to be the beginning of our new professional relationship.”

Zoraya Bernal | Ottawa Campus

“For all of those who are graduating with me today, I want to extend my sincerest congratulations and motivate you to embrace all the knowledge that you have acquired during this incredible and challenging program!  It’s no coincidence that you have become the beacon of light, and a holistic ambassador during this time of global uncertainty. We are a community of healers who have just begun tapping into our true potential and now have the tremendous responsibility to lead change and promote healing while the world needs us the most!”

Katy Gilbertson | Vancouver

“Your dreams start with making a decision. It starts by saying to yourself today’s the day I’m going after my dream. Today’s the day I say no to the doubts and reasons it won’t work and yes to the possibilities and opportunities. Today’s the day you’re going to suspend belief in conditions and instead believe in the power within you a take a bold action step towards your dream.”

Olivia Szostek | Vancouver

“The whole point of encouraging someone to heal holistically, is to simply be the beautiful, miraculous thing that we were born to be. Our profession requires that we stand in ourselves, so we can encourage others to do the same. The hardships and criticisms we face are not a curse, they are a blessing, a beacon that we are going in the right direction.”

Jill Gutting | Vancouver

“A lot has changed in the World, and I know that we are not afraid. Go out there knowing you don’t know everything and be ok with that. The World needs us, just like people need food. So let’s take this blessing and give it all we got, because we can transform all possibilities into realities. Think, Dream, Believe, Trust, and create the Life you were always meant to live.”