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Raise a glass for the college grads

MCCC celebrates 2017 graduates

By Vanessa Ray
On April 28, 2017

Members of Monroe County Community College's Class of 2017.

Surrounded by family and friends, MCCC celebrated the hard work and dedication of 420 graduating students.

Held on a cool April 28 evening, the 2017 commencement ceremony was full of happiness, inspiration, and humor.

This year’s graduation was special in that it was the 50 commencement ceremony to take place since MCCC was founded.


Vice President Grace Yackee gave students a little taste of what the world was like when MCCC's first graduates received their diplomas back in 1967.

“The median household income was $7,743 and automobile gasoline was 34 cents,” she said to gasps of disbelief.

She also spoke about the alumni network that tonight’s graduates would be joining.

“The 420 students graduating this evening will join 18,589 proud recipients of degrees and certificates from Monroe County Community College,” Yackee said.

The night’s Honorary Grand Marshal was Professor Cheryl Johnston, who is retiring after teaching at MCCC for 34 years.

She reminded the students of what the night was all about.

“Tonight is your night,” she said. “This is a big achievement. You should be very proud.”

Two students, Clayton Blackwell, whose grandmother was part of MCCC’s first graduating class, and Jennifer Cline addressed their fellow graduates.

“It’s right to think that we would take a little bit of the personality of the college with us, wherever we go,” Blackwell said. “Whether that’s into the workforce or it’s on to further studies.”

Cline, who came back to school after The Great Recession left her jobless, spoke of the obstacles she overcame.

“It has taken me eight years to earn my Associate’s Degree. During those years, I relocated, changed majors, survived cancer, and worked full time to support my family,” Cline said. “Standing in front of you today, I had every reason to quit. But that’s not what I did.”

After the Agora Chorale performed a beautiful rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly,” the 2017 graduates lined up and received their diplomas from President Kojo Quartey.

Graduate Taylor Apker enjoyed the evening.

“Graduation was really fun and it was great seeing all the faces I don’t get to see often,” she said. “I’ve been with MCCC for five years and went through every life changing point while I attended school here.”

Apker went on to sing the praises of MCCC.

“It’s a great place to start, especially if you don’t know what you want to do. I’ve met so many professors and students here who have helped decide my future steps and solidify who I am today,” she said. “I am so happy about the five years I spent at MCCC and will always think back on them.”



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