Edmonds Community College celebrates its 47th annual Commencement ceremony 7:30 p.m., June 13 at Comcast Arena in Everett.
"As William Butler Yeats once wrote: 'Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.' We agree," said Edmonds Community College President Jean Hernandez.
"We applaud the hard work, talent, and persistence of our graduates as they begin to realize their unlimited potential," Hernandez said. "They have taken a great step toward a brighter future. We value their motivation and look forward to the contributions they will make as volunteers, leaders, entrepreneurs, lifelong learners, and members of our local and global community."
In 2013-14, Edmonds CC awarded 2,044 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs. The youngest graduate is 17, and the oldest is 74.
This year's student commencement speakers are Gloria Song, 18, and Cindy Leung, 19.
|Gloria Song, student speaker at Edmonds CC's 2014 commencement|
Song first discovered her passion for communications while volunteering at the broadcasting station at her high school in Chongqing, China. She came to Edmonds CC because the International High School Completion Program allowed her to take high school and college credits at the same time, giving her a head start on her future educational goals. Since she'll be transferring to Pennsylvania State University to complete her Bachelor's degree, and then pursuing a Master's degree after that—it was important to maximize her time at Edmonds CC.
"I left home to study abroad in the U.S. when I was 16. It was very challenging at first, but the past two years at Edmonds CC turned out to be my most amazing educational experience ever," Song said. "Someday I'm going to publish a book about my study abroad experience here in the U.S."
How did Song adapt to being alone in a foreign land? "When I first got here, I could barely understand anything in my history class due to the language barrier, and I was so terrified that I literally cried in front of the whole class," Song recalled. "My history instructor Melody Schneider not only encouraged me to stay in this class but also took one extra hour per week to tutor me in her office. She gave me confidence to do well on academics during my hardest time."
Song also stayed active outside of class — writing, reading, playing the flute, participating in service-learning projects, and hanging out with friends. One of her favorite memories — performing a mash-up of 17 Chinese songs in a flute-piano duet (she played the flute) at International Night.
She continued to challenge herself by taking a job as the Club Events Programmer at the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership a year ago.
"This work experience has empowered me to be a student leader. I loved the job and everyone in the office!"
Gloria's advice to students? "Keep challenging yourself. Ignore your insecurity and prove to yourself that you can do it."
|Cindy Leung, student speaker at Edmonds CC's 2014 commencement|
Leung, who was born in Los Angeles, was studying in a high school in Hong Kong when a friend recommended Edmonds CC. She wanted to continue her education and decided that Edmonds CC had just the right program.
The Edmonds Career Access Program (EdCAP) turned out to be one of Leung's best experiences. "They offered me a lot of support and guidance during my high school years," she said.
It was just the start Leung needed. She was able to continue on and is now earning the Associate of Arts transfer degree so that she can continue with her passion for learning.
While she doesn't know what her dream job is at this point, she knows that she wants to get a bachelor's degree because she wants "to be more intellectually competent before going out into the scary real world."
The encouragement she received from Edmonds CC's instructors prepared her well and she gained valuable leadership experience as well. Leung worked as the Executive Officer for Clubs in student government. She said this was one of her best experiences because she "got to express concerns on behalf of the student body and make positive changes at the school."
2,044 degrees, certificates, diplomas, and GEDs (1,633 without GEDs)
34 percent earned college transfer degrees (696 degrees)
41 percent earned career degrees or certificates (836 degrees and certificates)
25 percent completed a GED® or high school diploma (411 GEDs, plus 101 diplomas for a total of 512)
31 – average age of graduates
56 percent female
44 percent male
16 percent international students
74 – age of oldest graduate, Accounting Certificate
17 – age of youngest graduate, Associate of Arts
Information based on May 2014 data.
During the past year, some of our best moments were spent: