MCCC celebrates its 52 commencement

Photo by Vanessa Ray 
Graduate Ali Mutahr kisses his son Mutahr Ali during Monroe County Community College's 52nd Commencement Friday evening.

The cool, damp, cloudy day didn’t drag down the spirit of MCCC’s 2019 graduating class.

Held on May 3, MCCC celebrated the graduation of over 350 students.

The College/Community Symphony band, conducted by Mark Felder, played as the graduates and faculty walked into the gymnasium.

Vice President Grace Yackee delivered opening statements congratulating the hard work of the students and thanking the community for their continued support, saying that without them, none of this would be possible.

Alumnus of the year went to Donald Gonyea from the class of 1976, who was not in attendance.

Vice President of Administration Suzanne Wetzel was named Honorary Grand Marshal.

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Trisha Schuver and Aleija Rodriguez were the student speakers.

“Good evening graduates. I just took two tests this morning, so let’s hope I should still be up here,” Schuver joked as she started her speech.

“It’s not often we get to hit the reset button on life, so when the opportunity comes around you should take it,” she continued.

Schuver said, for most of her adult life was a married stay at home mom, but after 16 years of marriage, she was served with divorce papers.

It was after this she met a friend who talked to her about going back to school. Schuver thought her friend was crazy but called the college not long after.

“I was told to fill the application and take the lovely Accuplacer test,” Schuver said.

Schuver said dealing with the divorce, classes and being diagnosed with two autoimmune diseases was stressful, but she is thankful of the path she’s faced.

Rodriguez quoted the classical Greek philosopher Socrates and asked what the next chapters will be for him and other students.

“We are not born for complacency, and we do not exist to yield,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said, higher education is not to prepare for a career but to shape who you are.

“I wish you all the absolute best of luck and the most sincere and heartfelt congratulations to us, the graduating class of 2019,” Rodriguez said closing his speech.

After the speeches, Daniel Shaw and Parnella Baul named off the students as they lined up to receive their degrees.

“It’s taken a lot of time, and dedication to get here,” said graduating student Brianna Stricklen. “I feel relieved to say the least.”

Stricklen said her family and friends helped her along the way and is excited to see what the future holds.