GBC College Vocational program student Joey Gamulin’s top marks, great attitude and commitment to community earn him a 2022 dean’s medal

College Vocational student Joey Gamulin

When online learning provided challenges for students in GBC’s College Vocational program to get together and socialize, Joey Gamulin used his DJing talents to create a welcoming and dynamic virtual space. His efforts to help his fellow students as well as his other achievements earned him a 2022 dean’s medal. 

“I’m very honoured to receive this,” he said. “I’m overwhelmed and excited.” 

Gamulin will accept the honour at an online ceremony on June 9. The dean’s medal is awarded to students at the Centre for Preparatory and Liberal Studies who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, and who excel in areas including interpersonal skills, personal and professional development and community contribution.  

He will also cross the convocation stage on June 15 to accept his Ontario College Certificate. 

The College Vocational program is designed to meet the needs of students who are neurodiverse and who live with mild intellectual disabilities and experience barriers to finding meaningful work. The long-running program is unique in Ontario and provides career planning, communication, math and digital skills training to help bridge the gap between high school and work or further study.  

“The program was really good, and I gained a lot out of it,” Gamulin said. “I’ve been able to express my talents by doing group work with others and working to find solutions when conflicts arise.” 

He also said completing creative assignments gave him a “chance to shine.” 

Community building 

College Vocational Program Coordinator Jennifer Dewar said the program was put on hold in 2020 due to the pandemic. When it restarted online in 2021, a lot of effort went into building a strong sense of community. Dewar said Gamulin, who also goes by DJ Joey Fresh, played an important role in that effort, particularly during the weekly virtual drop-in event called community space. 

“Joey not only regularly attended and participated in different activities, but he also often shared his skills and talents as a DJ, creating a warm, welcoming, and fun space for all,” she said. “One of my favourite memories from this year was attending one of his online dance parties during community space.” 

Gamulin had one of the highest overall GPAs in the program, she said, and he showed up “ready to work with a positive attitude.” 

Transitioning to employment 

Dewar says one of the best things the program does "is to help our students build confidence and create an action plan for what’s next.” That could be moving into academic upgrading and other college programs, or directly into a work environment. 

Each student completes a work placement and at the end of the program receives a referral to employment support programs. But Dewar said they noticed that not all students were making the transition from the program to seeking employment support, so they partnered with PTP Adult Learning & Employment Programs to deliver workshops and some employment counselling within the school year. 

“Building these components into the program provides a smoother transition for students so they can seamlessly continue to be clients of PTP after graduation,” Dewar said. 

Gamulin, who has a keen interest in both music and technology, said his goal is to work in audio production and to continue to DJ. 

“I’d like to work in music, DJing and setting up sound equipment at events,” he said. “That’s where I want my career to go.”