PROUDLY TAKING THE NEXT STEP
TOWARD A BRIGHT FUTURE
On Saturday, June 16, Clark College hosted its 2007 General Equivalency Degree (GED) and High School Completion Recognition Ceremony.
Proud graduates and their families and friends packed the O’Connell Sports Center.
With faculty, staff and administrators looking on, they received their diplomas and several spoke about the journey they had taken to reach that moment.
Clark President Bob Knight said, “I’ve often heard members of the faculty and staff at Clark College say how much this ceremony means to them – because they know how much it means to you.”
Three student graduates shared their stories. Yvonne Brummett spoke of losing her parents at an early age, struggles with drugs and dropping out of high school. Her daughter Kaylee “gave me something to look forward to.”
Having earned her high school equivalency degree, Brummett, seen in the photo on the right, is preparing to take classes at Clark’s Culinary Arts program.
She said, “Since I’ve been attending Clark College, many of my friends have asked me how they can do the same. It really makes me feel good, to be able to advise my friends and share my wonderful experiences with them. It also makes me so proud to see the enthusiasm my daughter has when she talks about how she wants to attend school as well.”
Speaker Michelle Pugh, seen in the photo on the left, described herself as a shy child who didn’t like school. Instead of attending classes, she first worked in the family business. “I have also been a cashier, cook, cleaning lady, nanny, public relations specialist, carnie, steel mill slagger and data entry operator,” said Pugh.
A serious head injury – and classes at a business school that closed before she could receive her GED – didn’t stop her. She started GED classes at Clark College in June 2006. Pugh told the crowd, “I stand here a successful GED completer ready for the next stage of my education. I plan to meet with a Clark advisor to plan a course of study for becoming a mechanical engineer. I now know there is nothing in this world, no one person, with the ability to stop us in fulfilling our dreams!” Pugh was named winner of a new scholarship, provided by Joanne Kendall, a former Clark student and longtime Clark supporter, to help with her education.
Graduate Dale Finnell, seen in the photo on the right, won the Pat Fencl Scholarship, named for another former Clark student who went on to a career as an educator.
Finnell hopes to to earn an associate degree in Applied Sciences/Machining Technology.
Performances by the African Gospel Acappella, seen in the above photo, have become a tradition at Clark graduation ceremonies. Blind refugees from Liberia’s 15 year civil war, four members of the African Gospel Acappella have been studying for their GEDs and taking the tests.
One of them – Michael Logan – was among this year’s graduates. (Logan is seen in the photo on the left with Clark College President Bob Knight.)
He told the crowd, “In September 2006, I completed my GED. I have been taking classes on Clark College’s main campus. I want to be a computer programmer. My goal is to keep moving ahead and stay with the flow of the other students. I very much appreciate the encouragement of all my instructors.”
Logan added, “I am proud of myself to stand here today, a member of the Bassa tribe, the second oldest of my mother’s four children and one of my father’s fourteen children. I am pleased to say that I am the first and only child of my father who has achieved in completing a high school education, and I am very thankful.”
Clark College President Bob Knight, seen in the photo below, shared one of his "favorite quotes" with the graduates. Knight said, "It’s from General of the Army George C. Marshall, who was commander of the Vancouver Barracks from 1936 to 1938. It’s simply this: 'There is no limit to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.' To me, those are words to live by."
He added, "We share your pride in your accomplishments and look forward to seeing your next steps as you continue to enhance our community with your hard work and talent, your passion, your commitment and your dreams.... You are now members of an ever-growing group known as Clark College alumni – and we will always be proud that you are members of our Penguin Nation."