Honor student Matthew Robinson told fellow graduates of Washington State Community College at Friday evening's commencement program that the old methods of job-seeking do not work any longer and no person can remain "unskilled" in today's workforce.
"Our journey in education is never finished," said Robinson, who was later awarded his associate degree in science.
Under clearing skies and with balmy temperatures, 389 men and women crossed the stage to receive their diplomas.
MITCH CASEY The Marietta Times
Graduate Lindsey Maggi is congratulated by a faculty member Friday during Washington State Community College’s annual commencement.
It was the largest graduating class in the school's more than 30-year history and reason for additional celebration, Charlotte Hatfield, president, told the Class of 2009.
"Congratulations on embracing this opportunity and congratulations on reaching this milestone in your future success," she said. "May you achieve your dreams."
Andrea Greynolds, graduating with a degree in respiratory therapy, was honored by Washington State officials as the school's 7,500th graduate.
Facts about Washington State Community College's Class of 2009:
Graduates: 389 (largest graduating class to date).
Honor graduates: 62.
Outstanding Professional Achievement award: Debra Hendershot.
Distinguished Alumni Award for community service: John A. Walsh.
"I'm really very honored," said Greynolds, of Parkersburg. "I have been working for this for the last three-and-a-half years and I'm excited."
Greynolds walked the stage with a 4.0 grade point average, which included her pre-requisite classes from West Virginia University at Parkersburg. In the next few weeks, she will be starting work at Doctors Hospital in Nelsonville.
"I am really happy to have had the opportunities I have had with Washington State, and to have a job before I graduated is pretty cool," she said.
Carl and Tammy McClung of Walker, W.Va., were there Friday to mark the graduation of their future daughter-in-law, Ginni Murphy, of Marietta.
"She's worked really hard and I know she loved it here," Tammy McClung said.
Murphy, 22, who received her degree in early childhood education, is the fiancee of Brent McClung.
Friday also marked the second time in recent weeks that Kylea Garrett, 18, of Dart, slipped into a cap and gown and crossed the stage to claim a diploma.
This time it was a liberal arts associate degree. On May 22, she received her diploma from Frontier High School.
Garrett has been part of the Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) program, spending the past two years taking classes at the college while still in high school. The program is free.
"It was a really good experience and a lot of people from Frontier went here too, so that was nice," Garrett said.
Next, Garrett is planning to attend Shawnee State University to major in biology and chemistry and is aiming for a career in medicine 14 years down the road.
"I've always wanted to be a doctor and I've decided on pediatric oncology," she said.
Paul Seyler-Schmidt, 35, is looking forward to a career in computer sciences, specifically in Web programming following graduation Friday. But before he dives into the job market, Seyler-Schmidt plans to go online with Franklin University for additional classes. He and his wife, Ashby, and young son, Jacob, live in Marietta.
"I hope to stay in the area but it all depends on the job market," he said. "There actually are quite a few jobs right in this area in my field."
Jolene Craig contributed.