PIQUA — Nearly 400 Edison State Community College students made that all-important walk down the aisle and across the stage to receive their diplomas on Friday, May 12.
Edison State President Dr. Doreen Larson gave a speech praising the hard work of the graduates and explained the value of their accomplishments.
“A diploma or certificate does not fluctuate in value. These pieces of paper and the degrees, which they represent, hold their value over time,” Larson said. “For each college graduate, this piece of paper represents obstacles that students refuse to let stand in the way of their success.”
“These documents from your community college grant citizenship as a college educated adult. They serve as qualifiers for employment, transfer and other degrees, scholarships, and the many opportunities only open to college graduates.”
During the ceremony, Miami County Commissioner Greg Simmons delivered a keynote address commending the graduates and encouraging them to keep moving forward.
“You’re independent value is no longer just about you. You’re now stepping into a realm where the ripple effect of your stone being thrown into the pond of life will be making a difference not only to those who you hold in close proximity in your heart but now also those who you work and live with in your community,” Simmons said.
“Your life does matter,” Simmons added. “You can test it, try it, improve it, and as you move on to the next part of your journey I think you’ll find that Edison State Community College has served you well. Return that by conducting yourself in a way that displays integrity and honor.”
As the college’s first graduate, Simmons noted that, because of his start at Edison State, he was able to reach many goals in life.
“Edison State was my launching pad for a higher education and a career. After serving in the Navy, I married, started a family, and returned to school. As a result of starting at Edison State, I became a teacher, a pastor, chief probation officer, police officer, Director of West Central Juvenile Facility, and presently I’m a Miami County Commissioner. I consider Edison State the start of everything for me, and it has been really good to me.”
This year’s graduating class earned over 440 degrees and certificates in such career and transfer programs as arts, business, communications, engineering and manufacturing, health sciences, humanities, mathematics, sciences and social and public services.
The class of 2017 represents 13 Ohio counties, with 41 percent from Miami County, 22 percent from Shelby County, and 19 percent from Darke County.
“Success for some means heading right into the workforce, often to a job they’ve earned through an internship; for others, it means further study at colleges and universities near and far,” Scott Burnam, vice provost, said. “But regardless of what’s next for them, when students succeed at Edison State, they leave thoroughly prepared to take on their next great challenge.”
Thirty-five of those graduating with an associate degree will also graduate concurrently from high school. Jenna Barlage, a sophomore at Fort Loramie High School, will graduate from Edison State this summer.
“As many years as we do it, and as many stories we hear about what students overcome to graduate from Edison State, we continue to be amazed at levels of focus, commitment, and endurance that our students demonstrate to become successful,” Burnam added.