322 WSCC students receive degrees at 46th commencement
Washington State Community College graduates shifted their tassels from right to left on their green mortarboard caps after receiving their degrees during the 46th annual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday.
This year, 322 WSCC students received degrees and certificates in Arts, Science, Applied Business, Applied Science, Health Sciences, Individualized Study, and Technical Studies.
For the first time, the commencement was not held on the WSCC campus. It was held at the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center on the campus of Marietta College. The change in venue allowed the students to have an unlimited number of people share in their graduation experience.
“This is the most exciting day of the year, watching these students graduate,” said Dr. Vicky Wood, President of Washington State Community College. “Many of them had a lot of challenges to overcome to get here. They’re here because of their perseverance, spirit and determination. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work.”
Wood said 44 high school students this year will be getting a college certificate or degree from WSCC before they earn their high school diploma through the College Credit Plus program. In addition, through the new WSCC2MC program, students can now enroll at both WSCC and Marietta College at the same time.
The program is designed for students that want to start their college experience at Washington State and receive an associate degree and stay local to complete a four-year degree at MC. This past school year was the first for WSCC2MC.
“Today, we’re celebrating our first two graduates of the WSCC2MC program,” said Wood. “They are the pioneers that are paving the path for many more students.”
Washington State and Marietta College have been working closely together for the past couple of years and the WSCC2MC program is a good example of that ongoing relationship.
“Dr. (William) Ruud (President of Marietta College) and I connected from the beginning and we have done a lot of great work together in bringing our two institutions together,” Wood said. “We believe that a strong partnership will benefit both colleges and more importantly, benefit our community.
“I thought that it was most fitting because of the work that we’ve done to have President Ruud be the commencement speaker,” said Wood.
“We are very excited to have WSCC students graduate on campus and I am absolutely humbled that they invited me to be their commencement speaker,” Ruud said. “It’s exciting.”
Ruud said for the last couple of years, he and Wood began some partnerships like the WCSS2MC program and others. They’re excited about the ongoing efforts of the two educational backgrounds and institutions working together for the good of the students, the community and for economic development.
One of the more inspirational stories Saturday was Dee Beck of Marietta who received her associate degree in nursing. Defying odds, she was determined to get her degree.
“I’ve been an LPN at the Washington County Home for eight years and I came back and got my associate degree,” said Beck. “This is a huge amount of pride and joy because I did it with six kids and working part-time. I did it and proved that it can be done.”
Beck said the accomplishment is helping her to set a good example for her children by them seeing her attain her goal. She encourages others like her to “go for it” as she did.
“If everyone is supporting you, nothing is impossible,” emphasized Beck. “My family support is amazing. I love them and seriously couldn’t be here without them. They’re the best.”
Katie Hendrickson, of Belpre, received a degree in Early Childhood Education and Dayna McDougle, of Lowell, got her Liberal Arts degree. They were the first to go through the WSCC2MC program, taking classes at both schools.
“I thought WSCC2MC was beneficial,” said Hendrickson, who will continue to study education next year at Marietta College. “I thought that the program was a good opportunity for students that didn’t have all the resources that other students have.”
“I really enjoyed the program,” said McDougle who will be a Studio Art major next year at MC. “It gives you a jump start and a feel for it.”
This year, 44 high school seniors received a college certificate or degree through the CCP program. Among those were Ft. Frye students Haley Tornes and Madison Wells.
“It’s a good opportunity,” said Tornes. “You learn time management and you get college experience early and you get to meet a lot of really good people.”
“CCP is a really good opportunity for high school students to be able to get a jump-start on their college career,” said Wells. “I highly recommend it.”
Ella Rockhold was the student speaker at this year’s commencement. Rockhold has been home schooled for most of her education. A couple of years ago, she enrolled as a Marietta High School student and became a full-time CCP student at WSCC. In the fall she plans to attend Maranatha Baptist University in Wisconsin to major in cello performance.
“I want to thank Washington State, the teachers in my life and my family … people who have made an impact on my education,” said Rockhold. “They always encourage me to do my best at everything. It encourages me.”
Diesel Truck Systems student Tyler Brannon, of Elizabeth, said it feels really great to graduate and felt good about all that he has learned at WSCC and feels prepared for the future.