Cue the Music
Cue the music...and support today's students
For much of Orest Myroon’s adult life, he’s had the privilege of listening to a sound track of music that fills his world with joy, pride and accomplishment. It’s been nothing short of exhilarating. His son, Paul, played double bass in the Ross Shepard High School jazz band and tuba in the concert band. His daughter, Dubrena, played the French horn and went on to play in Saskatoon’s Symphony Orchestra. His spouse, Sonja, played—and still does—keyboards in church; her organ sits prominently in the couple’s west end home in Edmonton.
Over those child-rearing years, Orest and Sonja attended innumerable concerts—at their junior high school, at Ross Shep, at music festivals and at youth orchestra concerts. But the music didn’t stop when the children grew up and left to start their own independent lives. Orest was—and still is to some extent—enveloped by music. Sonja certainly keeps the music going. Paul, 31, is now a paramedic in Edson. He attended university for a year, realized it wasn’t in his long-term future and then began EMR studies at NAIT. Eventually, he took online and onsite courses at Portage College to become an EMT and paramedic. He earned his Bachelor of Applied Business in Emergency Services at Lakeland College.
Dubrena, 34, is living in Saskatoon, working in human resources for Correctional Services Canada. She finished her Bachelor of Music degree at the U of A and then went on to study at The Glenn Gould School in Toronto. Both children are now pursuing satisfying careers.
With his career now behind him, it’s pretty clear that Orest provided his musical family with an exemplar they used to guide their working lives. After he graduated in 1968 from NAIT’s Chemical Technology program, he went to work briefly for Sherritt Gordon, Inco and Imperial Fertilizer. He worked for the Alberta Department of Agriculture soils and feed testing lab before settling into a great position with Atco Gas in their laboratories, providing vital quality control services. For over 25 years, beginning in 1980, Orest worked for one of the province’s preeminent corporations.
“I had a good career,” explains Orest, sitting comfortably in their small home situated in the McQueen neighbourhood of west Edmonton. “I got a great education [at NAIT]. I believed in the importance of making a commitment to your work. You give all you’ve got to the company you’re working for, and you do your very best,” he says modestly.
Like many in his field, he witnessed the transformation of the gas quality control methods from primarily manual work, to methods that relied more heavily on computerized processes. Meantime, Sonja worked as an elementary school teacher for 32 years, most of them in the city. Both were, and still are, devout members of the Augustana Lutheran Church.
Along with their commitment to their church, Orest has increasingly demonstrated his commitment to another important institution in his life: NAIT. During his time at NAIT, there was a real commitment to education that enabled its graduates to hit the ground running. It’s still that way, he maintains: students are ready to go to work almost from the moment they arrive on their employers’ doorsteps. He’s thrilled to see the continuity and continuing commitment NAIT has maintained to providing relevant, applied, hands-on education.
Not surprisingly, with more time on his hands, he’s increasingly been seen in NAIT’s hallways and classrooms, volunteering for events such as open house, convocation and new student orientations. And he’s given back financially, almost continuously since 1994. He’s been supporting the annual fund, Chemical Technology program, scholarships, bursaries and the construction of the Centre for Applied Technologies (CAT). “Recognizing what it’s given to me, I just felt it was time to start giving back to NAIT,” he says, pointing out that it’s particularly important for him to support students.