NEWBERRY — The James Medford Family Event Center at Piedmont Technical College welcomed more than 300 Piedmont Technical College graduates for two commencement ceremonies to celebrate their accomplishments.
Dr. Ray Brooks, president, welcomed graduates, family and guests to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduates.
“Graduation is not an ending, it is a beginning,” Brooks said. “You came here seeking something, you attained it and you’ll move on from here to continue to learn and move forward in your career.”
Brooks was followed by the commencement speakers. During the afternoon ceremony for business and information technology, public service, industrial and engineering technologies and nursing, graduates were addressed by Katie McCarty, a business administration-office management graduate from Greenwood; and Linda Lopez, an associate degree nursing major from Greenwood.
McCarty shared her experiences while at Piedmont Technical College with the online classes and how they helped her maintain a long-distance relationship with her fiancé, Stephen Dannenmaier. As she plans to marry and move in the fall, she challenged the graduates to face the big changes coming their way.
“Rather than seeing this as the end of your college experience, I implore you to see this as the commencement of the rest of your life,” she said. “By creating a better future for yourselves, you are creating a better world for everyone.”
Lopez talked about her journey in the nursing program. She reminded the graduates that they had worked hard to reach their goal and should continue to work hard in the future.
“We have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “We have overcome many obstacles that have come our way. And remember, you have only begun to scratch the surface of your real potential.”
Graduates at the evening ceremony for Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and health science were addressed by two graduating students – Kimberly Smith, a medical assisting graduate from Greenwood; and Stephanie Johnson, an occupational therapy assistant major from Prosperity.
Smith told about her journey into the medical field and the many obstacles she overcame. She encouraged the graduates to continue to pursue their own dreams and not give in to outside pressures.
“Trying to be like other people suffocates your own strengths and interests,” she said. “You have to let go of negativity and stop worrying about what doesn’t matter.”
Johnson’s story was filled with many changes throughout her life. After sharing that story, she congratulated her fellow graduates, but reminded them that their journey was not over.
“Life is about to change. It is exciting and it is scary at the same time,” she said. “Let us give the best that we have and live to serve with happiness and joy in who we are becoming because we are no longer the future. We are the present. Let us make the best of it.”
Several graduates were recognized for highest academic achievement within their counties of residence.
The winners by their counties of residence and their majors were: Abbeville: Timothy Cann, computer technology, networking concentration; Edgefield: Sherry Johnson, administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration; Greenwood: Emily Hawthorne, business; Samuel Hernandez Moreno, mechatronics technology and industrial electronics technology; and Katie McCarty, business administration, office management concentration; Laurens: Timothy Gibson, mechatronics technology; Alan Guevara Gonzalez, mechatronics technology; and Stephanie Jeter, administrative office technology, Spanish concentration; McCormick: Denise Freeman, medical assisting; Newberry: Christina Johns, occupational therapy assistant; and Stephanie Johnson, occupational therapy assistant; and Saluda: Daniel Bowers, mechatronics technology.
Presenting this year’s graduates was Andy Omundson, associate vice president for student affairs. Certificates, diplomas and associate degrees were conferred by Brooks and Dr. Jack Bagwell, vice president for academic affairs, with assistance from board chairman George Piersol; Dr. Bradley Griggs, dean of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Jennifer Wilbanks, associate vice president for academic affairs; Tara Harris, dean of nursing; and Sissy Copeland, dean of business, information technologies and public service.
The macebearer was Clay Sprouse, faculty senate president. The mace was designed by members of the faculty and staff and presented to the college in 1991 by PTC’s Alumni Association. Music was provided by Emerald City Brass. The Reverend Dr. Alice Ridgill, pastor of New Faith Presbyterian Church in Greenwood, delivered the invocation and benediction.
Chappells: Tiffany G. Holcombe, associate in applied science, major in nursing.
Little Mountain: Austin Atkinson, associate in applied science, major in criminal justice; Tyler Bowers, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; and **Meghan E. Lake, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant.
Newberry: *Zachary Tyler Amick, associate in applied science, major in automotive technology; *George H. Attaway, Jr., associate in applied science, major in industrial electronics technology/associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; Tiara Faye Bradburn, associate in science; Travis Mccorey Davis, diploma in applied science, major in welding; Latoya Nicole Lindler, certificate in patient care technician; Rebecca S. Olson, associate in applied science, major in general technology, photography with advertising design concentration; Amber L. Shephard, diploma in applied science, major in practical nursing; Brittany Williams, associate in applied science, major in respiratory care; Shakeria Wilson, certificate in patient care technician; Kelly M. Wise, associate in applied science, major in general technology, surgical technology concentration; and Latassha Nichole Wise, diploma in applied science, major in pharmacy technology.
Prosperity: **Stefanie Glenn, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; *Tyler David Grubbs, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; **Stephanie Aull Johnson, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; *Gotardo Luviano, associate in applied science, major in industrial electronics technology; Leah Mccullough, diploma in applied science, major in surgical technology; Anna N. Moran, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Isha Q. Wilson, certificate in patient care technician.
Silverstreet: Sierra Corissa Cervantes, associate in applied science, major in business administration, office management concentration; Christine A. Harris, certificate in patient care technician; and Peter G. Rambo, Jr., associate in applied science, major in nursing.
Whitmire: Mikaela Lee Malpass, associate in applied science, major in nursing.
***Summa Cum Laude-4.0 **Magna Cum Laude-3.75-3.99 *Cum Laude-3.5-3.74