Celebrating TCCC graduates

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_DSC9109Cooler temperatures and blustery winds could not dampen the joy shared by faculty, staff, students, and loved ones celebrating the graduates at Tri-County Community College’s 2021 commencement ceremony held May 7 on the main campus.

“We are so happy to hold this event on the main campus for the first time in two years,” said Larry Kernea, chairman of the Tri-County Community College board of trustees, as he welcomed the large gathered crowd.

The college’s 2020 commencement event was previously canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic. The 2021 ceremony honored more than 300 graduates from July 2019 through May 2021.

“Despite these unprecedented times, I am extremely proud of the resilience, innovation, and service exhibited by our students,” said Dr. Donna Tipton-Rogers, president of Tri-County Community College.

More than 100 graduates attended the ceremony, as loved ones cheered and enjoyed an opportunity to celebrate together as a community once more. The students honored represented more than 30 different programs of study at the college, including health care, college transfer, welding, education, and machining.

“Tri-County Community College has trained essential workers for more than half a century. Through recessions, local workforce changes, and now a historic pandemic, our commitment to our community has never wavered,” Tipton-Rogers said. “The students who earned a credential in the last two years are a testament to our mission of engaging students in learning, helping students succeed, and enriching the communities we serve.”

The graduation celebration continued the next day on the main campus when students who completed their high school equivalency diploma with the college’s Bridge Academy were recognized in a ceremony held on May 8.

“I am very thankful for this program and all those who supported me, I don’t think I would be where I am today without them,” said Gabriel Steffins, who earned his high school equivalency diploma during the 2020-21 academic year.

The newly-revamped Bridge Academy at Tri-County Community College offers a variety of opportunities for students to earn a high school equivalency diploma, including distance learning opportunities and an adult high school.

“Our program is based on the philosophy that every student, regardless of educational level, is capable of self-improvement, and should have the opportunity to participate in furthering their education and employment goals,” said Dotie Stafford-Ortega, director of college and career readiness at Tri-County Community College. “We are all so proud of the perseverance and hard work our students have displayed in the last two years.

Photo cutline: Erika Gillis, College and Career Readiness Instructor at Tri-County Community College, presents Gabe Steffins, TCCC Bridge Academy graduate, with his high school equivalency diploma at a ceremony held on the main campus on May 8.