Janine Frizzell, left, and Samer Kamel are the student speakers for Edmonds CC's 2013 commencement.
Edmonds Community College celebrates its 46th annual Commencement ceremony at 7:30 p.m. June 14 at Comcast Arena in Everett.
“Benjamin Franklin famously wrote: ‘An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.’ We agree,” said Edmonds Community College President Jean Hernandez.
“We value the motivation of our graduates and eagerly look forward to the contributions they will make as industry and civic leaders, entrepreneurs, volunteers, lifelong learners, and members of our local and global community.”
For 2012-13, Edmonds CC is awarding 2,105 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs. The youngest graduate is 17, and the oldest is 77.
This year’s student commencement speakers are Janine Frizzell, 21, and Samer Kamel, 23.
Frizzell first attended Edmonds Community College as a Running Start student from Meadowdale High School, earning her Associate of Arts degree in 2009. It was during an English class that her eyes were opened to the horrors of human rights violations, especially in Cambodia. So, while on a trip with her church to Cambodia in 2010, Janine met a woman from the U.S. who was opening a restaurant in Battambang — and was hit with a life changing idea.
“I decided I wanted to open a restaurant here in the U.S. that had really good food,” said Janine, “and that would also be a place where I could sell products that help benefit organizations that fight against and call attention to human rights violations against women.”
There was only one problem — Janine didn’t know how to cook. So she called a well known cooking school in Seattle that, after finding out that she lived near Edmonds CC, told her she could enroll in our Culinary Arts Program for a fraction of the cost. So she returned to Edmonds CC. “After I looked at the program and spoke to the instructors, I knew this was the place for me,” Janine said.
After only two months into her second associate degree at Edmonds CC, Janine secured her first culinary job, cooking at a girl scout camp. “After that, I got a dishwashing job at country club in Bellevue,” she said. “After the first week, the chef told me, ‘I’ve seen you make your own dinner, and I’ve tried what you left in the pan. It’s amazing.’ He wanted me to do more cooking, and less dishwashing.”
Janine now lives on Orcas Island where, after working at the famous Rosario Resort and Spa, she now is a cook for two restaurants. Janine’s advice to students? “You have to love what you do as well as do what you love. Nothing else will make you happy forever.”
Kamel was studying mechanical engineering in his native Egypt when a friend told him about a similar program at Edmonds Community College. He learned about the college and decided to take the big step of enrolling as an international student. But before, Samar could get serious about mechanical engineering, he had to learn English once here through Edmonds CC’s English as a Second Language program.
Despite the challenges of learning a complex subject in a new language, Samer knew he wanted to be active in college life, as well. To that end, he took a job as a driver for Edmonds CC’s International Student Services, where he met people from around the world and shared his experiences with them. In addition, Samer kept busy as an assistant in the office of the Executive Vice President for Instruction. With all of his duties, he also found time to work at a local gas station for spending money.
“Working and studying at the same time is very hard sometimes, but I decided I wanted a busy life,” said Samer, who plans to complete his degree at Washington State University. “It is preparing me for my future career. I encourage everyone to study hard now and establish goals to achieve. Nothing is impossible for the person who really wants to succeed, whether in education, business, or just life.”2012-13 Graduating Class — By the Numbers
Information based on May 2013 data
2012-13 College Highlights
During the past year, some of our favorite moments were spent: