The largest number of curriculum students ever to graduate from Pamlico Community College received their diplomas Friday evening, May 16, in the auditorium of the Ned Everett Delamar Center on the college campus. Those graduates, combined with those receiving certificates in workforce development areas and the high school equivalency diploma, brought forth the largest audience ever to attend graduation at the college. The 650 seat auditorium was filled to capacity with extra seating brought in at the last moment to accommodate the vast number of family and friends present to celebrate this momentous occasion.
Just as remarkable as those receiving college credentials, was the announcement that 64 persons in the past year had earned their high school equivalency at the college. Students study under the the tutelage of PCC instructors to prepare to earn this goal.
A student earns the high school equivalency with a minimum score of 2250 points on the examination. A student earning 2700 points is recognized as a student of distinction in this area. Caitlin Sadler was honored at the Commencement for earning the high score of 3400 points.
An emotion-filled Frankee Gibbs, mother of two, strong voice for empowerment for women, youth, and the less fortunate in society, was recognized as the 2014 Academic Excellence Award Winner and the PCC Student of the Year. Vice President of Student Services Jamie Gibbs presented Gibbs her award.
Not a recent high school graduate when she entered college, she purchased a small lap-top to facilitate her studies. Not familiar with computers, she sought and received the personal assistance of the college’s Director of Computer Services who tutored her on the basics. She grasped this training and put it to work in her studies. A former English instructor described her as “passionate about learning and just as passionate about helping and leading others to create a personal vision for a brighter future.”
Gibbs earned an Associate of Arts degree that will allow her to transfer to a four-year college in her quest to become a professional educator.
Skyler Schoen, LaKendra Pyant, and Melissa Stokes mirrored images of joy of all graduates who walked across the stage to the podium to receive their degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
Tanya McGhee, a biology instructor, was named Outstanding Instructor of the Year. Elaine Creel was cited as the Outstanding Adjunct Instructor of the Year. Scott Frazer, Director of Computer Services, was honored as Outstanding Staff Member of the Year. Curtis Ormond, a former president of the Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce and small business owner in Bayboro, was selected as the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year.
Electroneurodiagnostic Technology graduates posed with their instructor, Marc Williams.
The Honorable James E. Ragan, III addressed the graduates. Drawing upon his experiences a superior court judge and a program he developed to offer drug offenders a chance to become rehabilitated as opposed to being sent through the revolving doors of prison, he told the graduates that their future success could be enhanced by becoming conscious of and following through with three actions.
He admonished the graduates to show up, be honest, and work hard. He noted that they had already earned the right to participate in Commencement by showing up and working hard. He advised the graduates that creating a reputation of being dishonest could ruin and destroy their lives and their career.
Calling upon sage advice that has been spoken often, he said, “In life, sooner or later, we are all going to fail at something. It’s not the failure that counts, but how we respond to the failure. I have seen that with people going through the court system being honest becomes part of the healing process.”
He concluded by emphasizing, “Give life your best effort. Go forth, and remember to show up, be honest, and try hard. Good luck to you in this journey.”