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Fayetteville Observer - Fayetteville Technical Community College graduates 1,415 in its spring commencement

May 13, 2013
In The News


THE CEREMONY: Fayetteville Technical Community College's 51st annual spring commencement, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Crown Coliseum

NUMBER OF DEGREES CONFERRED: 1,415 graduates with 2,800 degrees, diplomas and certificates

SPEAKER: U.S. Rep. David E. Price of the 4th Congressional District, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee and as the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security. He also is a member of the appropriations subcommittees responsible for housing, transportation, military construction and veterans affairs.

WORDS OF WISDOM: Price reflected on the profound changes the state and nation have undergone over the past two decades and how the community college system has navigated through and responded to those changes. "When we come together as a society to confront even the greatest challenges, our ability to persevere during times of hardship and change is virtually limitless," Price said.

A MEMORABLE MOMENT: FTCC President Larry Keen stressed the importance of celebrating the accomplishment made by the graduating class. "When you consider the stories that are being written by each of you, this is a good place to celebrate your stories. Those stories are very significant. Some of you have come from some very difficult places and some of you are navigating some very difficult times, yet you have the courage, power and strength to navigate those pathways with dignity," Keen said.

WHAT I'LL REMEMBER MOST ABOUT COLLEGE: "I did not expect all of the support that I received," said Ella Haigler, 53, who received an associate degree in business administration with a concentration in organizational leadership. "I will always remember my instructors. The instructors go out of their way to make sure you are successful, and I really appreciate that. Especially being an older person. They helped me achieve a goal I started a long time ago."

A SENSE OF PRIDE: Kendall Gassaway of Maryland waited for his daughter, Kendra, to walk into the coliseum floor. Kendra, who plans to become a teacher, received an associate degree in arts.

Gassaway said he was proud of his daughter juggling her job at a doctor's office, college classes and raising her 1-year-old daughter.

"Financially, it has been a burden, but we stepped in and took the burden off her so she could be stress-free," Gassaway said.

"I have chills right now," he said as he waited for ceremony to start. "To see this moment right now is amazing."

NOW WHAT: "Starting a new life and a new journey," said Gidget Wilkerson, who received an associate degree as a physical therapy assistant. "I am already employed part-time at a nursing facility."