A Tribute to the Graduate Class of 2010: Inspirational Stories from our Graduating Seniors by Valerie Read

On Sunday, Jun 13, 2010 there will be 1,942 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs being handed out to the graduate class of 2010. The oldest graduate is 73 who will receive a Certificate in Advanced Office Skills and the youngest graduated is 17 who will received an Associated of Arts Degree. Michelle Graves, EdCC, College Relations and Public Information Officer said, “The class of 2010 is the largest class at EdCC in 10 years.”

According to information from EdCC based on date in May 2010 33 percent are earned college transfer degrees, 39 percent are degrees and certificates, and 28 percent are completed GEDs or high school diplomas. The average age of graduates is 31 and 13 percent are international students. Ratio of male to female graduating students is 56 percent are female and 44 percent are male.

I emailed all my fellow students in my Environmental Science, Geology, Intro to Logic, and Journalism 115 classes the following questions; Are you graduating in June, what college are you transferring to, are you planning to take a trip, study abroad, start a project or anything out of the ordinary, What are your dreams, ambitions, and goals for the career that you will be studying at a University, and how are you inspired to pursue this dream and why? I asked these questions to my fellow students who are graduating this June or later in the year and here is how they replied.

Rosa Ascencio is graduating in June and transferring to Central Washington University. “Pretty much everything I do has to have something out of the ordinary compare to my other peers, whether it is to take an unexpected trip, load myself with myself with work,” “everything I do always has something to do with my future and my dreams,” “I plan to get another internship related to my career,” “I am inspired by many things; my family, friends, and the desire to help my community,” said Ascencio.

Rochelle Rose is graduating in June after completing an Associate Arts Degree and Chemical Dependency Professional Certificate. “When I decided to go after a Bachelor’s of Applied Science, then likely do it online-it is hard to find a upper division college that offers drug counselor Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Sciences, if I were to stay in Washington I could do a Bachelor’s of Applied Science at Seattle Central,” “Yes, I will be moving back to California and have accepted an offer to work in a charter school that students are addicts in recovery and ex-offenders, I will head up the theatre program (theatre is my background) and continue to accumulate hours for my Chemical Dependency Professional license doing drug counseling as well,” “the long-term goal is a Master of Arts in therapy and combined with my Chemical Dependency Professional will allow me to work more with the co-occurring, that is mental health and drug addiction,” “I am a drug addict and have been in recovery for 10 years last October,” “I worked the streets and used needles, along with various other types of lifestyles that a lot of addicts live, when I became sober I went through a chemical recovery ministry in my church and after I graduated from that program I was trained to lead groups and have ever since, it was from that I decided to go to school to work as a professional counselor, I still lead the group today, I go to a church that has ministries all over so I was able to transfer that from Southern California to Seattle,” said Rose.

Caroline Smith is graduating in June and will earn an Associates of Arts Degree. Smith has been here since 2007 and will be transferring to Yonsei University in South Korea. “I think with me transferring to a college that is in another country could be classified as out of the ordinary,” “I will be studying English yet at the same time learning the Korean language and immersing myself in the culture, and to add to that I will have a part-time job teaching students at an elementary academy English,” “I have family in South Korea,” “my grandmother is my greatest love and she inspires me to stay in the country and to learn more about it,” “to be honest I never thought that I would be teaching English, because I have always said that becoming a teacher is something I could never do, yet here I am,” said Smith.

Tim Bergen will be graduating at the end of summer quarter. He will have 85 credits by the end of spring quarter and needs to take one more class in summer quarter to graduate. After Bergen graduates he will attend Western Washington University. “I plan to do Peace Corps in South America after I get my Bachelor’s and then continue onto law school when I come back,” “I plan on getting a Political Science/Economics degree with a Minor in Journalism,” “one day I hope to go to law school and become an attorney,” “no one in my family has every earned a post 4 year university degree,” “I want to be the first,” “I’ve been taking law classes at EdCC and I found them all interesting so I think that law school would be my best fit.,” said Bergen.

Nate C. will be graduating in June and transfer to the University of Washington. He has no plans for the summer. “After doing some travel, I’m convinced that Seattle is one of the coolest places to end up,” “my love of the city and my love for history and my belief in education makes a teaching degree from the University of Washington my goal,” “I’m thinking about continuing to do journalism on the side in whatever capacity I can,” “I also have a beautiful girl I plan on settling down with,” “someday I want to do to Japan or Russia and see firsthand what my favorite histories have produced, but otherwise I’ll be here,” “history is like storybooks, but it actually happened,” “seeing the surprises and patterns in the human story is a joy for me and has been since I was little,” “I also am convinced that people can understand their present world so much better by studying it, and I know I can impart that conviction and enthusiasm to others,” said Nate C.

Rogelio “Rodger” Jamero IV is known to his friends as “Rodge-Jam”. He will be graduating in June and continue his education at Central Washington University earning a Bachelor of Art Degree in Law and Justice. “I don’t have any plans to go anywhere or study abroad until I finish my Bachelor of Art Degree and get my US citizenship,” “I always dream about becoming an Federal Agent or equivalent field,” “I have no inspiration or anything,” “I‘m just born to live with an adventure in my life, it’s in my DNA,” said Rodge-Jam.

I can see that Rosa is inspired to help her community. The charter school in Southern California is fortunate to have Rochelle who will help so many kids in need of counseling or just have someone to listen to them. Caroline will experience Korean culture and spend quality time with her grandmother. Her new experience in teaching English to children in South Korea might give her an idea to travel the globe teaching English to children. Tim plans to make a difference in the world by joining the Peace Corp and volunteer to travel to South America. South America is in need of help with earthquakes and volcanic activity. Nate C. will probably write for an on-line newspaper called ABA Journal-Law News Now and run his own law firm someday. Maybe teach law at the University of Washington. I can see calling the FBI and asking for Agent Rogelio “Roger” Jamero IV or “Rodge-Jam” to his friends. When “Rodge-Jam” becomes a citizen of the United States of America, perhaps he can help with so many aliens who enter this country every day. It helps when someone has gone through the same ordeal.

These stories are just a few of what our fellow graduates will aim for. I want to wish Rosa, Rochelle, Caroline, Tim, Nate, and Rogelio good luck and best wishes for their new journey ahead.

So, for all the graduating students at Edmonds Community College I will see you all at the Edmonds Stadium on Sunday, June 13. I will be the one wearing a blue graduating gown and cap sitting among everyone else waiting for the commencement ceremony to begin at 1:30 p.m.

Congratulations to you all and good luck in your future endeavors.

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