PTC holds Spring Commencement Ceremony

Staff Report

NEWBERRY — Messages of inspiration abound during graduation season, and more than 200 Piedmont Technical College (PTC) graduates were not disappointed when they heard the insightful words of their fellow classmates on PTC graduation day, May 3, at the James Medford Family Event Center.

“Graduation should serve as a launching point, projecting us to our successful futures, whether we land ourselves a new career, enhance our current vocation or continue our education,” said evening commencement speaker Kayce Porterfield, an accounting major. “Wherever your path may take you, let it be victorious.”

Dr. Ray Brooks, PTC president, welcomed graduates, family and guests to celebrate the achievements of a diverse and gifted class of young citizens during two emotion-filled ceremonies.

“What a gift it is to live in a country where opportunities abound,” Brooks said. “These individuals here in front of us tonight have dreams, and they have acted on their dreams.”

Porterfield, who received her associate in business administration with an accounting concentration, was one of three student commencement speakers. Tina Magnussen, who received her associate degree in nursing, delivered the commencement address for the afternoon ceremony, and Hunter Gravely, who graduated with a degree in building construction technology, provided remarks for the evening ceremony.

After overcoming numerous challenges and setbacks, including the death of her father, Porterfield persevered despite strong inclinations to quit.

“With the love and support of some PTC faculty and my family, I found the strength to push forward,” she said. “To think back on all of the struggles of college alone and the trials and hardships in my own personal life, I have traveled further than I could have ever imagined.”

When a football injury dashed his hopes for college athletics and a related career, Gravely decided to tackle the next best thing ― carpentry. He grew up watching his grandfather operate a family decking business and loved building things. He graduated with an associate degree in building construction technology and already landed a job with a major commercial builder.

“Today, we graduate and go out into this world. Some of us will go back to school and some of us will go straight to work, like myself. Whatever you do, make an impact and leave your mark,” he said. “We worked very hard to be here today. Let’s go out into this world and make an impact. Let everyone know that, here at Piedmont Technical College, the graduates are mature adults who aren’t afraid to work and be the type of worker that every employer wants. Take your education you worked hard for…and go out into the world and make it count.”

At the afternoon ceremony, Magnussen was good-humored while acknowledging that she never saw herself making it to this particular goal.

“To be honest, the last five semesters of my life have been the most challenging thing I have ever done,” she said. “And I have been through the police academy and the fire academy.”

For Magnussen, recipient of the 2018 President’s Award ― PTC’s most prestigious honor ― the third career choice was the charm.

“I tried firefighting as a volunteer in my community. Then I worked in law enforcement, and on two fateful consecutive nights, I helped deliver two babies,” Magnussen said. “My desire for helping people only intensified, and not long after, I began my journey to Piedmont Technical College. I have to say, I am proud to be a PTC graduate and, today, nothing makes me prouder than to say I am a nurse, just like my mom.”

Several graduates were recognized for highest academic achievement within their counties of residence. Nathaniel Mason, dual enrollment/associate in arts; Newberry.

“Congratulations and Godspeed!” Brooks said. “Thank you for allowing Piedmont Tech to be part of your lives.”

PTC Area Commission Chairman George Piersol presented this year’s graduates. Certificates, diplomas and associate degrees were conferred by Brooks and Dr. Jack Bagwell, vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Brad Griggs, dean of arts and sciences and interim dean of business, information technologies and public service; Rusty Denning, interim dean for engineering and industrial technologies and associate vice president for economic development and continuing education; and Tara Harris, dean of nursing and interim dean of health science.

Newberry County graduates:

Chappells – *Joanna Hope Arnsmeyer, associate in arts.

Cross Hill – *Andrew Dale Smith, associate in applied science, major in building construction technology.

Little Mountain – *Jessi N. Boland, associate in applied science, major in general technology, welding concentration; and Felicia Antoinette Gallman, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management concentration.

Newberry – Hunter Joseph Adams, diploma in applied science, major in welding; **Juan Jose Aranda Almaguer, associate in applied science, major in computer technology, network concentration; Yulissa B. Alvarez, associate in arts; Blake Edward Amerson, associate in science; Tatyana Maryann Bishop, associate in applied science, major in veterinary technology; Adrianna Bowers, associate in science; Carrie Lindsey Eargle, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; Sayra Isabel Herrera, associate in applied science, major in early care and education; Hakeem Johnson-Mitchell, associate in applied science, major in mechatronics technology; *Rosa Langford, associate in applied science, major in business administration, management; Denisse Lopez Altamirano, associate in arts; **Janneth Morfin, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; ***William Dean Morse, associate in applied science, major in mechanical engineering technology; Donald Lloyd Parsons, associate in applied science, major in business administration, accounting concentration; *Jesus Antonio Reyes, associate in arts; **Darli Rodriguez, diploma in applied science, major in welding; **Laytoia C. Salaam-Hill, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical concentration; Toshia Faith Schiffert, associate in applied science, major in nursing; and Kylie Wheatley, associate in applied science, major in engineering design technology.

Pomaria – Thomas Kiker, associate in science; Hayley Marie Lathrop, associate in applied science, major in business administration; and Tammi Jacobs Wessinger, associate in applied science, major in administrative office technology, medical coding/billing concentration.

Prosperity – ***Colin Capell, associate in applied science, major in veterinary technology; Kimberly Rose Farr, associate in applied science, major in occupational therapy assistant; Sandra Leigh Garbart, associate in applied science, major in nursing; Meghan L. Hartman, associate in arts; *Stephanie R. Jonkers, associate in applied science, major in veterinary technology; Evan Chanler Thornhill, associate in applied science, major in business administration; and Brent David Wilson, associate in applied science, major in veterinary technology.

***Summa Cum Laude-4.0 **Magna Cum Laude-3.75-3.99 *Cum Laude-3.5-3.74.

Staff Report