600 to Attend MHCC Graduation Ceremonies
Posted June 7, 2012
More than 600 Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) students anxiously await their turn to walk across the stage this month at MHCC’s 45th annual graduation ceremonies.
The graduation ceremony for those earning General Educational Development (GED) diplomas and Adult High School Diplomas (AHSD) will be held June 15 at 7 p.m. Commencement for students earning degrees and certificates will take place June 16, at 10 a.m. Both ceremonies will be held in the Earl Klapstein Stadium on the Gresham Campus, 26000 S.E. Stark St. Parking is free and admission tickets are not required.
Both events will feature music from the MHCC Jazz Band and Romeo Diahn, former MHCC student and American Idol contestant.
This year’s speakers include Associated Student Government (ASG) president Jackie Altamirano, who will speak June 16 and Jerad Pense, GED graduate, who will speak June 15. Michael D. Hay, MHCC president, members of the MHCC District Board of Education and members of the MHCC Foundation Board will participate in both ceremonies to confer the awards.
“We are all very proud of these students’ accomplishments,” says Hay. “They worked hard to reach this milestone and are to be applauded for their diligence.”
MHCC’s celebrations serve to congratulate all students, some of whom have overcome adversity and hardship on the path to academic success. For first generation college graduates such as Altamirano and many others, their achievements mean just as much to their families as to themselves and set the bar high for their younger siblings.
Pense, who dropped out of high school at age 15, is ecstatic to be earning his GED and pursuing an associate degree with a focus on engineering. “With everything I have gone through, I believe going back to college at any age is possible,” he says. “I am grateful to MHCC for helping me to create a new life for myself. I am excited about what the future holds!”
This year’s commencement will also honor 19 international students through the Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (SEED) program. Students will return to their home countries with the knowledge to help create powerful environmental and economic change.
Following these college completion ceremonies, students will transfer to universities, enter the workforce or achieve additional training elsewhere. Though the path through college may be different for everyone, these graduates are a reminder that higher education is possible no matter the circumstance.
By Teresa Lane
Read about two sisters who will be participating in commencement, then going onto Concordia University; and the singer at both graduation and commencement exercises: Romeo Diahn, who competed in American Idol.