Alumna pride in RDC’s impact
After Spruce View’s Suze Vanderlinde graduated from Red Deer College and the Queens Hockey program in 2017, the positive impact that those experiences have had on the former student-athlete’s life bring her a sense of pride that remains strong.
“RDC is the foundation of who I became as a person,” says Suze, reflecting on all aspects of her four years at the College, including many hours studying, raising funds for charity and competing as a gifted student-athlete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).
Suze’s academic program at the College provided a solid foundation for her career aspirations. “I took Kinesiology at RDC,” she explains. “I’ve just finished my last practicum for my EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) at Emergency Services Academy in Sherwood Park. I’m on my way to write my provincial exam and hopefully become a registered EMT for the province of Alberta.”
The education and expertise gained at Red Deer College have given Suze the knowledge, skills and confidence to reach her career and life objectives. “I’m definitely on the path I want to be on,” she says. “I’ve taken everything I’ve learned here at RDC to keep striving for those goals, and knowing I can achieve them.”
Suze’s life changing experience at RDC extended beyond the classroom. The former forward on the Red Deer College Queens Hockey team started to wear the team’s crown in 2013-14, and that was the beginning of a compelling bond to the post-secondary institution and Queens Hockey. “The first second that I started playing for the Queens I knew what it meant,” she says about the inspirational climate that promotes success academically and athletically, hard work, volunteerism and lifelong skills. “Having the experience playing and going to school here helped me shape myself.”
Suze’s college experiences helped introduce her to the tremendous value in giving back to the community and helping to raise funds for local causes. She was in uniform for the inaugural Pink in the Rink fundraising event at RDC in 2016, and was involved the past two years in a coaching capacity as the Queens Hockey team raised money for the fight against women’s cancer and the accessible playground project at École Barry Wilson Elementary School in Red Deer. Every year thousands of dollars were raised for the charities but 2017-18 was especially a memorable campaign. With the assistance of Scotiabank matching funds, $21,825 was raised for the playground project and the RDC Queens set an ACAC Women’s Hockey attendance record with 892 fans.
Suze’s tenure on the ice included a gold medal at the ACAC Women’s Hockey Championship in 2015-16, and when she graduated one year later, she wanted to stay connected. Suze joined Kelly Coulter, Queens Hockey Head Coach, on the bench as one of his assistants, alongside other former RDC student-athletes, Casey (Nicholson) Petrie and Laura Salomons. “Going into the coaching side is my way of giving back to something that has put so much into my experiences,” she says. “I have a lot of pride being an alumna of RDC and a member of the Queens Hockey coaching staff. I’ve seen the culture here at RDC and that’s something I want to represent for the rest of my life.”
Her dedication to the new role, instructing Queens hockey players, helped guide the RDC team to the playoffs each of the past two seasons, including an ACAC silver medal in 2017-18.
Even though Suze is no longer an RDC student, her memorable experience at the College will last a lifetime.
“The lessons that I’ve learned here, I’ll hold those for the rest of my life,” she says.