CCC Graduates Show a Lot of Class


By Kenneth Ender, Ph.D. President

The Cumberland County College class of 2004 showed a lot of class at last Thursday’s commencement ceremony. This was the largest class in the college’s history, with 381 students. Just before the students received their degrees, we asked them to stand by category as we conferred their degrees.

The Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science groups each had as least 100 students. So as they stood, these groups of students received vibrating applause from their family and friends in the audience.

And then the Certificate recipients were asked to stand. There were three students in this group. At first they received a spattering of applause from their families in the audience. And then the rest of the class led a rousing round of applause for the three students.

Thank you, class of 2004.

This was an exhilarating ceremony because the enthusiastic class members were as diverse as the community, with varied ages and backgrounds. Arielle Botter, 17, and Thelma Scott, 67, each received an associate’s degree. Student speaker Iona Lightfoot, mother of seven, with three sets of twins, delivered an emotional message that concluded: “Never, never, never, never give up.” Her remarks drew a standing ovation.

Shirlee Brown, a long-time friend and supporter of the college, received the honorary Associate in Arts degree. She was eloquent on stage as she “accepted the degree on behalf of all the women in Cumberland County who provide community service.”

Most of the graduates overcame obstacles to triumph. Eighty percent of the graduates were the first members of their families to receive college degrees. So they are pioneers and role models for their brothers and sisters, and mothers and fathers, and friends and neighbors.

Their message is simple: “We did it, and so can you. We turned our dreams into obtainable goals at Cumberland County College, and so can you. We discovered new dreams at Cumberland County College, and so can you.”

The 2004 graduates will go on to succeed at four-year colleges, in their varied professions and as community leaders. They will join thousands of CCC alumni who live and work right here in the county. They will become respected administrators, business owners, computer network specialists, teachers, nurses and other professionals too numerous to list here.

And though their backgrounds and areas of expertise are varied, the graduates will all help to upgrade the quality of life in the area. So last Thursday’s commencement was an inspiring evening for the graduates and everyone else who attended. It was also a celebration that signaled continuing economic and cultural development in Cumberland County.

Congratulations, class of 2004.