On Wednesday afternoon, 193 students walked across the stage at the Thibodaux Civic Center to receive their diploma from South Central Louisiana Technical College.
China Storks graduated with a Certificate of Technical Studies as a Patient Care Technician. Storks said she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse by starting on getting this certificate.
"The program was very hands-on in the field and the teacher was phenomenal," she said.
To Storks, graduating means she is one step closer to achieving her dream, but she still has a long journey to travel to reach her goal.
"Starting and actually finishing college is a big step, especially when you got onto the point where you almost wanted to quit because you were tired or you just didn't think you could do what you needed to do to finish, but you finish anyway" Storks said. "I want to become an anesthesiologist."
Her first step after graduating will be to enroll in an practical nursing program.
Learning specialist and instructor Demrest Barkley said one of the reasons why she teaches is because she "wanted to be able to see students come in, grow, go out, and be better. In other words, be a change agent and watch that change," she said.
Barkley works with students with disabilities, helping them with accommodation plans to ensure a better education for them, and also instructs at orientation and provides students with the basic information they will need as they immerse in their college endeavor.
Dakota Grace graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in the industrial instrumentation field.
"This was always the goal, to come and graduate college and be able to pursue a career," he said.
Grace's dad encouraged him to attend college and that's what he did, pursue a professional career while working part time as an apprentice at Dow Chemical Co., he said. Now that he graduated, Grace will be continue to work for Dow Chemical Co. as a full time employee. In the future, it is possible Grace will attend school to pursue an Engineering degree.
Electrical professor Keith Prejean said his students have a great opportunity coming their way and he continues teaching because of the kids.
"This is the first time a lot of students get to walk across the stage, so this is really good for them," Prejean said.
Prejean is not the only professor who enjoys graduation. To Barkley it is very rewarding as well.
"I get to see students come into college and then see them leave with a drive that will allow them to excel and bring real changes to their communities," she said. "Being able to witness a graduation means the world."
Lafourche Parish Assessor Wendy L. Thibodaux gave the commencement address. In her speech, there were three main things she wanted the graduates to remember as they embark on their new adventure:
Never leave a door open and grab all the opportunities they can. Master their craft whenever they realize what it is they want to do for a living because it will lead them to success. Lead by example in their personal and professional lives. This year will be the last in which South Central Louisiana Technical College will celebrate its own graduation. Starting next semester, the three current SCL campuses, Lafourche, Young Memorial and Reserve will merge with three adjacent community colleges, Fletcher, River Parishes Community College and South Louisiana Community College.
Staff Writer Andrea Mujica can be reached at 857-2248 or email@example.com. Follow her on twitter @CationM.