Edison State grads come together with different backgrounds


For the Miami Valley Today



PIQUA — Students from all walks of life enter through the doors of Edison State Community College each semester in pursuit of higher education. As Edison State’s 44th commencement ceremony approaches, the class of 2019 maintains a diverse student population with a common goal.

There are students like Payton Boshears of Sidney, who will graduate from Edison State with an associate’s degree before receiving her high school diploma. Boshears is highly involved in extracurricular activities at Sidney High School and aspires to one day become an English literature professor and author.

“My love for reading and writing influenced my career path,” said Boshears. “I’ve always been told to choose a path that I’ll enjoy in life.”

Students like Boz Howard of Russia will be the first member of his family to graduate from college. Howard, who is the president of both the National Society for Leadership and Success and the Student Senate and vice president of Phi Theta Kappa at Edison State, will graduate with a 4.0 GPA. After graduating, Howard will work toward obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in information technology while also working.

“I’ve always had a fascination with computers and newer technology, I chose my major because I wanted to learn more about computers,” said Howard. “I want to be at the forefront of technologies that have unlimited potential.”

Jennifer Helman of Piqua entered the workforce after high school. Helman never expected to go to college, assuming it would not fit within her budget. Twenty-one years after graduating from high school, she started her first class at Edison State and has been a proven leader in the classroom and at Auria in Sidney where she is passionate about her career as a Senior EHS Specialist.

“Edison State has helped me with my career in learning how to communicate to people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Helman. “I have met people I never would have had I not attended Edison State.”

Edison State also sees many students looking to advance in their athletic careers. Lauryn Gray of Piqua played women’s basketball for Edison State while pursuing a degree. Gray was part of a sophomore class that won a record 49 games. After two successful seasons with the Chargers, Gray signed to continue her athletic and academic career at Lourdes University.

“Edison State has a great coaching staff who really pushed me to become a better player and enhance my game over the past two years,” said Gray. “It feels amazing to be able to continue my basketball career. It’s something I’ve worked hard for and to finally reach that goal is so fulfilling.”

Kayla Seman of Bradford is a 25-year-old mother, wife, college student, and Type 1 diabetic. Seman, who will graduate with a degree in agriculture, is passionate about helping others. She is committed to raising funds to support younger generations of diabetics and sees farming as a source for healthy food. Upon graduating from Edison State, Seman will continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education.

“I am passionate about life and the beauty of our land. I am thankful to be here today in light of my health struggles,” said Seman. “I love farming and I wanted to incorporate it into my future career.”

Whether the education they received was stepping stone to the next destination or the final step in their education, Edison State Community College has helped Payton, Boz, Jennifer, Lauryn, and Kayla pursue a future they’re passionate about.

Edison State Community College will hold the 44th annual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m. in the North Hall of the Piqua Main Campus located at 1973 Edison Drive.

The featured speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony is Dr. Cassie B. Barlow, interim president of the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education. Dr. Barlow retired from active duty with the U.S. Air Force as a colonel in 2014. She was the 88th Air Base Wing and Installation Commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In that role, she commanded one of the largest air base wings in the Air Force with more than 5,000 Air Force military, civilian, and contractor employees.

Edison State Community College’s Class of 2019 statistics include:

• 479 graduates earned 564 degrees or certificates

• 40 percent are career degrees

• 22 percent Associate of Arts or Associate of Science transfer degrees

• 37 percent 1-year certificates

• 2 percent short-term technical certificates

• Ages range from 16.7 to 60, and the median age is 28

• 35 will graduate with honors (GPA 3.5-3.74), 46 with high honors (GPA 3.75-3.99), and 22 with highest honors (GPA 4.0)

• 58 percent are female, 42 percent male

• 35 percent live in Miami County, 21 percent in Shelby County, and 21 percent in Darke County.

• 20 Ohio counties are represented.

• 35 graduates are high school seniors, one graduate is a high school junior, and one graduate is a high school sophomore

• 43 percent of graduates completed at least one developmental course.

• 39 percent transferred credit hours to Edison State

• 191 students with transfer credit totaled 7,539 hours transferred, averaging 39.5 hours per student

• 48 percent of graduates are first generation college graduates

These figures represent graduates in academic year 2018-19 as of April 26, 2019 and are provided by the Office of Institutional Research at Edison State Community College.

For the Miami Valley Today