Tassels leap to the left – Graduation numbers increase by over two hundred

According to Janet Helsper, academic records specialist for SPSCC Enrollment Services, there were 1,209 graduates at the college as of June. Last June, there were 955 graduating students.

Many of the students chose to walk in this year’s graduation ceremony.

The soccer field of the college was full with supporters and well-wishers for the graduating students of 2012. The excitement was palpable as the music started and the faculty, led by SPSCC President Gerald Pumphrey, flanked the aisle to usher in the students.

The graduating students were then led to their seats by Dean of Student Life David Rector. When everyone was seated, Pumphrey stood to make his speech.

According to Pumphrey, there are 10 “small ideas” that can help students achieve their goals, whether continuing education or jumping into the workforce.

1. Appreciate who you are. 2. Cultivate a positive attitude. 3. Believe in yourself, because success was not assured, but you made it this far. 4. Take charge of your own happiness. 5. Accept change as a way of life. 6. Plan ahead and set goals. 7. Build relationships with quality people 8. Beware of taking sides too soon. 9. Respect and care for those around you 10. Never underestimate the power of small acts of kindness.

Matthew Shrader was the student speaker at this year’s graduation. As well as serving the school on the student senate for two of his three years on campus, Shrader has been a voice of equality on campus.

According to Shrader, upon his arrival to the college, he felt scared and shy.But the faculty and students made him feel welcomed.

Shrader talked about his and the student senate’s work in obtaining gender-neutral bathrooms for the campus. “Everybody has the right to feel safe going potty,” said Shrader.

He attended the college for about three years, and he obtained an associate of arts with emphasis in political science and economics. According to Shrader, his time at the college has been a roller coaster.

“When you are as involved as I am, you not only see the surface, you have access to insider information. I have seen people come and go, the campus culture start to shift positively, and [I have] had personal growth,” said Shrader.

“I leave a completely different man than I came to SPSCC as. I have changed for the better, gaining knowledge, skills, experience, life-long friendships, and professional contacts along the way. My overall SPSCC experience can be summed up as the greatest three years of learning I’ve ever had!” said Shrader.

He said he will miss the people most of all, as he moves on to the University of Washington to major in political science and minor in human rights.

Shrader was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Award, because Shrader has demonstrated personal growth, served the college and had a high academic achievement according to Coats.

Joan Martin, retiring professor for dental assisting, said she understood that times were difficult for our country, but as a people and nation, we have endured a lot, and through working together and accepting each other, we can move forward.

“There is strength in being together” said Martin, “we cannot have a healthy democracy when we marginalize each other.”

According to Martin, students should “step out of [their] comfort zone” and “be aware of the oppression of others.”

According to Adrian Jalo, who obtained his associate of applied science in computer network administration, he will miss his professors and friends he has made over the years, and he is sad to see his time at SPSCC come to an end.

Graduating student Jessica Scovell said she is just ready to move on and see what else is out there.