CCCC celebrates summer graduation
Graduating students of Central Carolina Community College applaud and smile doing an address at th ... (more)
Darel Davis, of Lee County, delivers one of the graduation addresses at Central Carolina Community ... (more)
Central Carolina Community College President Bud Marchant (left) congratulates Steven Richard, of ... (more)
Steven Richard, of Chatham County, delivers one of the graduation addresses at Central Carolina Co ... (more)
Samantha Gaines (left), of Lee County, and Kristy Robertson (center) and Jennifer Smith, both of C ... (more)
Laura Marsh (left), of Harnett County, received her Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justi ... (more)
SANFORD - The summer sky was bright outside the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center on Aug. 2, but it was no match for the brightness of the smiles within as Central Carolina Community College celebrated its Summer Commencement Exercises.
A large crowd of family and friends gathered, complete with balloons and flowers, to celebrate the achievements of the approximately 170 graduating students. About 100 participated in the exercises. The students had completed about 300 degrees, diplomas and certificates - gaining an education that no one could ever take from them and that would open doors of opportunities previously closed to them, according to student graduation speaker Darel Davis, of Lee County.
Davis worked at Hanes Brand for 21 years, until the plant closed. He told his fellow graduates and those in attendance that enrolling at the college was an "eye-opener."
"Coming to CCCC improved me as a person," he said. "It enhanced my abilities to do jobs with confidence. It helped me prove that all things are possible. Today is a proud moment - and proud moments are forever."
Davis received his Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Engineering Technology and has already been hired in a job he described as "great."
Graduating student Steven Richard, of Chatham County, also spoke at the graduation, telling his fellow classmates and the audience that he had gotten into substance abuse in high school. It took a long time, some hard choices, and strong encouragement from his wife to enroll at CCCC.
"Because of my choice to enroll at CCCC, my life and the lives of my family have been forever changed," Richard said. "I thought I would fail out the first semester, but I actually enjoyed and earned all "A's. I was shocked."
At the college, his life turned around. He served as a college Ambassador and was part of the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP), a joint program between CCCC and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Richard received his Associate in Arts and is on his way to the university to continue his education.
"In life, we are constantly faced with choices," he told his classmates. "Each of us overcame obstacles to be sitting where we are now. If we continue to make choices like the one that led us to this point, there is no telling where we can go."
Twenty-three students earned Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degrees, looking forward to transferring to a four-year college or university with upper-division standing. The rest earned a wide variety of Associate in Applied Science degrees, diplomas or certificates in fields ranging from accounting to telecommunications.
When the last certificate had been presented, CCCC trustee Martha Underwood, on behalf of the board of trustees, instructed the Class of 2012 to transfer their tassels from the right to the left, signifying their graduation.
With that, the audience erupted in loud applause, cheers and whistles for the graduates who had worked so hard to make the day a reality.
"Graduation is the happiest day of the academic calendar," CCCC President Dr. Budd Marchant, said with a smile. "They have well earned opportunity that will lead them into a brighter future."
Following the exercises, the crowd of graduates and their friends and families flowed into the Civic Center's foyer, where cameras flashed, preserving the moment to enjoy over the years.
"I worked 20 years at Hanes Brand before it closed," said Laura Marsh, of Harnett County. "I always wanted to work in the criminal justice field and coming to CCCC gave me a lot of good opportunities."
Marsh earned an A.A.S. in Criminal Justice Technology and now, like the rest of her graduating class, is excited about the future her education has opened up.
"It feels great!" she said.
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