A record-breaking 279 students graduated from Richmond Community College this spring.
For the 242 who attended graduation ceremonies this weekend at the Cole Auditorium, it was an opportunity to celebrate reaching a goal and a time to savor marching across the stage to receive a degree or diploma.
Richmond County native Dr. Saundra Williams, Senior Vice President and Chief of Technology and Workforce Development for the N.C. Community College System, was the commencement speaker. A graduate of Richmond Senior High School, she earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate from N.C. State University. She is the daughter of Leon and Pauline Wall of Rockingham.
She told graduates there are two important things to remember in life: people and pathways. She said her father gave her excellent advice when he moved her into a college dorm as a freshman. He told her he had taken her as far as he could, that the people she associated with and the path she would take were her decisions.
“Surround yourself with people who will take you beyond your comfort zone. Be with people who will encourage you to move forward with any goal you set. You have completed the goal of graduation. Faculty took you beyond your comfort zone. You can be sure your life is richer because you stretched yourself,” she said.
She encouraged students to commit to become lifelong learners and to help others so they could follow their pathway, and one day sit in the same seats as graduates.
Following her speech, RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis presented Williams an Honorary Associate in Arts degree, the highest honor the college can bestow.
Student Government Association President Lisa Coats of Rockingham spoke on behalf of the students. She asked the graduates to remember their first day of class and to remember all of the big textbooks they felt unsure about opening.
“We stuck it out and overcame obstacles and fears to be here for graduation. Take stock in the abilities RCC has instilled in you. Be ready to take your place in the world. This has all been a test of your character. As you say goodbye, remember, you will always be a part of RCC’s legacy,” she said.
Vice President for Student Services Saundra Richardson presented the graduation awards. The Dr. Robert D. Street Academic Excellence in Business Studies Award went to Lisa Diane Coats, a Healthcare Management Technology major from Rockingham. The Joseph D. Beam Excellence in Engineering Award went to Casey Allan Walters, an Electronics Engineering Technology major from Rockingham. The Richmond County Historical Society Excellence in History Award went to Robert Daniels Wilkes, an Associate in Arts major from Hamlet. The Dodd-Moore Humanities Award went to Dakota Marie Braddock, an Associate in Arts major from Hamlet. The Excellence in Science Award went to Ashleigh Rickilynn Barbee, an Associate in Science major from Laurinburg.
Scotland County graduates are Ryne Burnette Bullock, Jamarri M Kelly, Takeya Ernell Ladson, Herbert T McLean, Rhonda Quick Strong, and Sandra Monroe Warren of Gibson;
Cerrell Danielle Armstrong, Diana Marie Benfield, Brenda Ann Brown, Christy Goins Clark, Deborah Elizabeth Graham Sellers, Rebecca Nicole Hendrix, MacKenzie Ann Lasher, Jennifer Lee, Kijafa Rasheda McLean-McDaniels, Katrena Laquise McMillan, Jeremiah Shalom Moore, Kari Phynee’ A Pate, Vance Alexander Pearson, Jennifer Lynn Peele, Courtney Deney Reeves, and Laura Ann Shoemake of Laurel Hill;
Angela Donetta Adams, Daren Levion Alford, Justin Garrett Baldwin, Ashleigh Rickilynn Barbee, Twaniqa Shonta Brown, Aaron Tyler Byrd, Kimmy Elizabeth Cannady, Hong Sheng Chen, Selene Elliott, Leslie Ann Evans-Whittaker, Jordan Neal Fournier, Melinda Rochelle Gibson, Calvin Gillespie, Lora LeeAnn Glover, Byron Allen Goodwin, Larry Jerry Graham, Sr, Debbie W Green, Malinda D Hall, Shanda Lynice Hall, Megan Elizabeth Haywood, Kayla Brook Heffner, Jackie Ronnie Hucks, III, Jerome Lee John, II, Byron Johnson, Elizabeth Carmichael Jones, Terri Leviner Knight, Krystal Cierra Lee, Ashley Marian Locklear, Peggie L Love, Sheila Robertson Milligan, Rachel Reed Morrison, Bradley Alan Neumann, Toni Catherine Poole, Priscilla Purdie, Danielle Mycha Ratcliffe, Nathan William Schnatter, Nikki Marie Sewell, Melissa Smith, Natpawee Somkanay, Ashley Nicole Stephens, Hashan Shahod Tyson, Kylie Tyson, Lachell Marie Washington, Marcus Antonio Watson, Christie Angenette Williams, Colton Reid Williford, Tameka Danielle Willis, and Joua Xiong of Laurinburg;
Emily Celeste Brewer, Shautel Rene’ Chavis, Tamika Reenae Jackson, Karen Yvonne Lewis, Equana Linisha McCollum, Andena McDonald McLean, Mark Thomas Tanner, Elliott Rafael Tyson, Jazzniquekia Torchelle Walker Wagram