October 3, 2010 was a great day of celebration for over 200 Portage graduates, their families and friends, Portage staff members, and other supporters of Portage. 1,300 people packed the Théâtre Maisonneuve in Place des Arts to recognise the men, women, and adolescents who have sought Freedom from Addiction and finished their rehabilitation programs at one of Portage’s centres in the Montréal region.
2010 Olympic Winter Games gold medalist Alexandre Bilodeau, was a guest speaker at the event. He drew a parallel between his journey to the podium to the quest of the Portage graduates to overcome their substance abuse problems, citing hard work, belief in oneself, and perseverance as the key components to realising a dream.
Portage’s President, Peter A. Howlett, and the Executive Director, Peter Vamos, also addressed the graduates, congratulating them on their journey and wishing them continued success and happiness for the future.
Before each graduate from the Adult Program, the Adolescent Programs (Prévost, near lac Écho and Beaconsfield), the Mentally Ill Chemical Abusers Program (MICA), and the Mother and Child Program was named, a few special awards were granted.
Eight adolescent and five adult graduates were recognised for having completed their secondary school requirements while at Portage Academy. Antoine Déry of the Rivière du Nord School Board and Alexandrina Anduze of the Lester B. Pearson School Board presented the graduates with special Portage Academy sweatshirts.
Another young graduate was presented with a $2,000 scholarship by Sylvie Giguère, Vice President – Sales, Quebec Commercial, Bell Business Markets to highlight his leadership, participation and determination in the La Rive Project, one of Portage’s social reintegration programs.
The employees of the year for each centre were also named and were presented with commemorative plaques: Kathleen Baldwin of the Adult Program at Lac Écho, Samuel Dallaire of the Adolescent Program at lac Écho, Stacy Lee Jourdain of the Adolescent Program in Beaconsfield, Stéphanie Leduc of the MICA Program, and Melissa Renaud of the Mother and Child Program.
The audience clapped and cheered as each graduate and each person who was celebrating their one year positive lifestyle anniversary free of drugs and alcohol walked onto the stage. As blue and white balloons fell from the rafters onto the 2010 graduates at the conclusion of the event, the Portage community celebrated with thunderous applause.
Congratulations to all the graduates and their families on their remarkable achievement.
Pictured above: Portage’s Montréal Recognition Ceremony 2010; Alexandre Bilodeau, 2010 Olympic Winter Games gold medalist and Peter Howlett, President of Portage.