‘A day to be proud’
Cheers, applause and whistles filled the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center Tuesday as family and friends of Central Carolina Community College’s summer 2013 graduating class expressed their excitement and joy.
Many of the graduates smiled and waved to the audience as they crossed the stage to receive their degrees, diplomas or certificates. Some wiped away a few tears as they realized that all the excitement was about them.
Graduation speakers Amy Cruz, of Lee County, and Delores Yeager, of Harnett County, both started at the college to earn their GED high school equivalency diplomas. They both continued on to earn associate degrees in applied science — Cruz in early childhood education and Yeager in office administration.
“This is a day of celebration, a day to be proud; we’ve all conquered our goals,” Cruz said. “I say ‘thank you’ to the instructors for their dedication and patience, and I thank my husband and three children for their patience through the years. This is a day we will all remember.”
Yeager lost her job in 2007, and with it, her confidence and self-esteem. Then she found out that the college’s Human Resources Development Department offered classes for displaced workers, so she enrolled.
“Those HRD classes were a tremendous blessing,” she said. “I improved my workplace skills, and those classes were stepping stones that built my confidence to take curriculum classes. At 51, I have graduated with my [degree] as an honor student. As of yesterday, I have a full-time position with the town of Lillington. God has blessed me with wonderful people on my journey. Congratulations to the class of 2013.”
During the exercises, students were recognized for outstanding academic achievement. Alexandria Clayton, of Chatham County, earned the highest grade point average for a student in the college’s University Transfer Division. In the Vocational-Technical Division, Steven Baldwin and Lauren Barefoot were recognized for the highest grade point average among students earning associate degrees in applied science, and Megan Andrews and Carol Thompson, for the highest among those earning diplomas.
The graduating members of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society were also recognized: Anthony Heinz, Narrie Liverman, Carol Thompson and Delores Yeager.
The graduating class earned a total of 424 degrees, diplomas and certificates, with some students earning more than one. Thirty-seven received associate degrees in arts or science that will enable them to transfer to four-year colleges or universities with upper-division standing. The rest earned a wide variety of associate degees in applied science, diplomas, or certificates in fields ranging from accounting to telecommunications.
When the last certificate had been presented, Julian Philpott, chair of the CCCC Board of Trustees, officially conferred the graduates’ degrees, diplomas and certificates upon them. He then instructed the class members to transfer their tassels from the right side to the left side of their mortarboards, signifying their graduation.
With that, the audience erupted again with applause, cheers and whistles.
“Graduation truly is the most joyful day on the academic calendar,” said CCCC President Bud Marchant. “Graduates, when you go out into the community, you will see how beloved CCCC is. That should make you feel proud. Always remember that you represent us and you are our greatest advocates.”
At the beginning of the commencement exercises, the graduating class entered the main hall of the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center two by two, following chief marshal and college mace-bearer Anthony Harrington. Harrington, an alumnus of CCCC, earned a diploma in radio-TV broadcasting in 1977 and an associate degree in arts in 1983. He went on to earn a doctorate from N.C. State University. Harrington worked as a Harnett County school teacher and radio news director before coming to CCCC as a broadcasting and history instructor. He retired in July, after 30 years at the college. In 2012, Harrington was one of the first recipients of the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
“I’ve enjoyed all 30 years at CCCC,” Harrington said prior to the commencement. “I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, taught a lot of wonderful students and worked with the most fantastic group of instructors, staff and administrators in the state of North Carolina. No college cares as much about its students as CCCC.”