SANFORD -- Central Carolina Community College celebrated the achievements of the Class of 2015 as the school observed its 52nd Commencement Exercises on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
The graduating students entered the main hall to the skirl of a bagpipe, a CCCC tradition.
"Graduation represents the culmination of the efforts of all divisions of the College along with those of our graduating students, which truly makes it the most joyful day on the academic calendar for everyone," said CCCC President Dr. T.E. Marchant.
The Class of 2015 has approximately 840 students -- including those expected to graduate after attending summer classes, who are expected to receive 1,399 credentials (associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates).
Three commencement exercises, at 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., were held to accommodate the number of graduates. That also allowed those who will complete their studies during the summer to walk in a graduation ceremony, since there will be no summer commencement exercises.
Faculty commencement speaker was Dr. Robert Powell, the college's 2014 Instructor of the Year, who served as Chief Marshal and Mace Bearer.
Dr. Powell noted that waking up on graduation day is a bit like waking up and finding that overnight you have landed on another planet. "The history of your previous life remains. Your education is waiting to be employed," said Dr. Powell. "And, now you are facing a clean New World of unbroken soil. You may feel a bit chilled by the thought of the future, but there is also the thrill of knowing that you will 'boldly go where no one has gone before.' Out there is a vast world waiting for you to leave your footprints."
Dr. Powell told the graduates that some of them would achieve their dreams. "Education and tenacity combine to achieve goals. You have demonstrated the willingness to learn and the intestinal fortitude to see it through to the end; otherwise, you would not be here today. It's time for you to climb aboard your starships and go push the boundaries of the space you live in," he said, adding that some graduates may not realize the exact definition of their dreams. "But, let me share with you one of the great secrets of life: You can be a happy and fulfilled person wherever you are. That is, learn your limitations and continue to expand your horizons in other ways."
Dr. Powell said that he hopes in the years to come the graduates will remember the folks who inspired them. "I hope that you will always remember that you studied here, that you were tested here, and that you met the challenge," said Dr. Powell.
Student speakers were Tiffany Streeter at the 9 a.m. graduation, Austin Dowdy at the 11:30 a.m. graduation, and Joshua "Al" DeLong at the 3 p.m. graduation.
Streeter is a graduate of the Dental Hygiene program. Dowdy, a Lee Early College student, received the Associate of Arts degree. DeLong, who has accepted a position at Lawrence Livermore National Labs in Livermore, Calif., is a graduate of the Laser and Photonics Technology program.
Streeter said that as community college students, their lives are giant puzzles, "each piece signifying a part of our daily responsibilities that we've had to make fit to complete this part of our journey. To give up on this puzzle would mean to give up on our hopes, dreams, and ambitions." She added, "Always remember to give back to the people who helped get you where you are today, for we all know no one got here alone."
Dowdy told his fellow graduates that "no matter how far you go, how successful you become, or how far away you may be, your foundation will always be here at CCCC. The opportunities that have been provided for all of us here today are incomparable to those that we will receive anywhere else. While I am confident that every single one of you in this room today have the ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to - graduating today is a great example of that - I am more confident in your ability to look back and appreciate your time and experiences here at CCCC."
DeLong noted that he was employed by a company striving to create nuclear fusion. "I am still acquiring the requisite knowledge to perform my job properly," said DeLong. "But that is the lesson I have learned above all other lessons -- learning does not stop after graduation."
Three retiring faculty members were also honored: Linda Blair, Steve Lympany, and Susan Poindexter.
Dr. Brian Merritt, CCCC Vice President of Student Learning and Chief Academic Officer, presented the graduates. Julian Philpott, Chairman of the CCCC Board of Trustees, conferred the diplomas.
Following each commencement exercise, family and friends gathered in the Civic Center's foyer or outside to take pictures of their graduate's special day.
Kristin Joanne Ostheim, of Harnett County, received her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. "It's awesome," Ostheim said of her graduation, noting that it had been a 4-year-long journey.
Alicia Lopez, of Lee County, said that graduation was emotional. "I'm really proud of myself," said Lopez, who received a Diploma in Early Childhood.
Ashley Reed, of Chatham County, who received a Diploma in Medical Assisting, also said that graduation was awesome. "I'm glad I did it," she added.
"It was exciting," said Trina Donaldson, of Lee County, who received an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Technology.
During the graduation exercises, students with the highest grade point averages in their divisions were recognized: Brittany Lynne Spears, Tiffany Leann Streeter, Villette Gisela Thomas, Barbara Ann Bera, Gail Norris Brown, Ted Stuart Daniel, Michele Allred Monroe, Debra Ann O'Connell, Angelique Courtney Wallace, Alejandro Loredo, Gloria Hernandez-Matute, William Christopher Baggett, Joshua Allen DeLong, Thomas Dutton, and Kody Joseph Maness.
Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society graduates were also recognized at each commencement: Kristin Alderin-Fleagle, Stephanie Damery, Scott Duff, Andrea Gray, Keisha Lucas, Natalie Schmadeke, Tiffany Streeter, Villiette Thomas, Meagan Williams, Romona Wood, Joanie Adcock, Noemi Arias, Jennifer Austin, Thomas David Bishop, Susan Bowling, Gail Brown, Ashley Crosby, Leonardo Cruz, Brittany Davis, Teresa Estrada, Gloria Marcela Hernandez Matute, Michael Johnson, Kiaundra Jones, Alejandro Loredo Sarmiento, Christopher Mullen, Debra O'Connell, Willadrenna Rich-Cowan, Gregory Rodgers, Earl Vaughn-Williams, Michael Wallace, William Baggett, Ryan Belk, Vanessa Cox, Michael Hejny, Emily Humphries, Angela Humphries, Jeremy Knoll, Kody Maness, Henry Nimons, Vivian Smith, and Gwendolyn Thornton.
Pictures from the commencement exercises can be downloaded at www.cccc.edu. The commencement can also be viewed online at 4CNCLive.com.
A large audience attended the Central Carolina Community College commencement exercises on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.
There are approximately 840 members of the Class of 2015 at Central Carolina Community College. Commencement exercises were held on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.
Dr. Robert Powell, Central Carolina Community College's 2014 Instructor of the Year, presented the Commencement Address on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.
Tiffany Leann Streeter, who received the Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene, was the student speaker at the Central Carolina Community College 9 a.m. commencement exercises held on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.
Austin Dowdy, who received the Associate in Arts degree, was the student speaker at the Central Carolina Community College 11:30 a.m. commencement exercises at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
Joshua "Al" DeLong, who received the Associate of Applied Science in Laser & Photonics Technology, was the student speaker at the Central Carolina Community College 3 p.m. commencement exercises held on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center in Sanford.
Kristin Joanne Ostheim, of Harnett County, received her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing at the Central Carolina Community College commencement exercises on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
Ashley Reed, of Chatham County, visits with family after receiving her Diploma in Medical Assisting at the Central Carolina Community College commencement exercises on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
Trina Donaldson, of Lee County, visits with family after receiving her Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Technology at the Central Carolina Community College commencement exercises on May 22 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.