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‘We all persevered and we’re here today to celebrate’GOCC graduates 153 from Class of 2023

COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON
Constantine’s Madisyn Tulley, who graduated Glen Oaks Community College with an Associate of Business degree, speaks to her fellow classmates after winning the President’s Academic Award during Friday’s commencement ceremony.

COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON
More than 150 graduates were celebrated Friday night at Glen Oaks Community College’s 55th commencement ceremony, held at Ken Schuler Court.

By Robert Tomlinson
News Director

CENTREVILLE — Pomp and circumstance was in the air in Centreville as Glen Oaks Community College held the first graduation ceremony of the year in St. Joseph County on Friday night.
GOCC graduated 153 students for its 55th commencement ceremony, which includes 35 Early Middle College students and three high school students who will be graduating GOCC prior to graduating from their high school.
“This evening is very special for our graduates, and also their families and supporters,” GOCC President Dr. David Devier said.
Devier said the youngest student in the Class of 2023 was 17 years old, while the oldest was 68 years old, and who had graduated high school 50 years ago.
The ceremony included its traditional video segment about an aspect of the college; however, this year’s edition was a bit non-traditional. This year’s video was the final version of the “ViewPoint with Dennis Quaid” episode that featured the college, which was filmed back in February, focusing on dual enrollment and the Early Middle College program.
Friday’s ceremony also recognized multiple award winners for staff and students. The school’s Outstanding Service Award went to systems analyst and support engineer Christopher Dao, the Part-Time Teaching Excellence Award went to Allied Health instructor Darci Skrzyniarz, the E.J. Shaheen Chair for Teaching Excellence went to English professor Lori Hatfield, the Distinguished Alumni award went to Edward Jones financial advisor Kelly Bibb, the Up and Coming Distinguished Alumni Award – a brand new award – went to farmer Collin Dussel, and the Fellows Award went to Patricia Devier, the wife of president Devier.
The President’s Academic Award, which is given to a student who has had a high amount of achievement in academics and excellence as well as contributions in the classroom, class work and the college, went to Constantine’s Madisyn Tulley. In the write-up acknowledging her award, she is known as a “genuine leader who relates well to others,” and her professors describe her as “engaging, reflective, and intentional in her contributions both in and out of the classroom.”
Tulley, in her speech to the class, thanked her family and friends, but also thanked the GOCC faculty for their efforts in helping them be successful. However, she talked mainly about perseverance, and how her classmates were able to overcome them to graduate from Glen Oaks.
“My peers and I persevered through every challenging paper and exam that we thought we couldn’t pass. We all persevered through online classes through and after a worldwide pandemic. A great majority of my peers and I persevered through attending classes while holding jobs and putting ourselves through college,” Tulley, who graduated with an Associate of Business degree and will be going into sales post-graduation, said. “I personally persevered through a great loss in my family which followed several personal battles and struggles. Through everything my peers and I have been through in our time at Glen Oaks, we all persevered and we’re here today to celebrate that.”
And celebrate they did, with the graduates making their way across the stage set up at Ken Schuler Court to receive their degrees. Some Early Middle College students, as they got off the stage, were given flowers by EMC Director Anita Lopez-Schlabach to celebrate their accomplishment as well. Families also gave their students flowers, hugs and other pleasantries as they came down from the stage, as well as after the ceremony in a reception on the college’s concourse.
Finally, at the end of the hour-long ceremony, the directive was given to students to stand up and turn their tassels, with thunderous applause coming from the hundreds in attendance to celebrate their accomplishment of graduating from college.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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