Hey, everyone. I would like to welcome you to
the Picayune College VISIONS class of 2017 graduation celebration. We are here to celebrate and honor the hard work of these
senior VISIONS students. I’d like to give a special welcome to
parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends who joined us this evening. You’re an important part of what
has brought us to this place. I hope you enjoy the evening
we have planned for you and join us in recognizing the achievements
of these amazing students. At this time, I’d like to invite Marianne
Cox, the director of the VISIONS program, to come to the podium for the invocation. Following the prayer, please wait for the Hilton staff to invite
your table to the buffet. Also, during dinner, the photo booth
will still be running, so you’re more than welcome to go continue to go out
there and get pictures here in that time.>>Can’t wait to see those pictures. If you’ll bow your head with me, please. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for
this very special evening that we’ve set aside to just honor these graduates and
thank you for the VISIONS Program. Thank you for how it has touched so
many lives in our community. Thank you for those who dreamed it,
for those who have funded it, and for those who set it in motion so
that we could be here tonight. For these graduates, the family members
represented, and those who have supported these students throughout their high
school journey, we are so grateful. Many sacrifices have been
made to get to this point and we know that you have great plans for
these students. Plans to prosper them,
to give them hope and a future. Thank you for
all that you’ve done in their lives and we look forward to what is to come. Thank you for the food that
we’re about to receive and for those who have prepared it for us. We are mindful that there are those
who will not eat tonight, and those who in need and
we ask that you would provide for them. Remind us of all that you
have blessed us with, and let us never take these things for
granted. May this evening’s celebration
be exciting and honor you. We ask all these things in Jesus’ name. Amen. The Hilton staff will
dismiss you from your table.>>Ladies and gentlemen,
please continue eating. We’re gonna begin with our program, and I know that some of you may
have just gotten your dinner. Please enjoy this good dinner,
and especially the dessert. I’m Susan Nobles, Vice President for
Institutional Advancement, and I am a member of the VISIONS team and
I’m very proud to be a part of it. I’ve had the opportunity to work
with VISIONS since its inception and get to see classes every
year come through and do great things and then go on and
do even greater things. But you know,
looking out over this group tonight, I see some really good looking people.>>[LAUGH]
>>[LAUGH] I’d like for the students to raise your hands. I was telling the guests at my table,
it’s a little difficult to distinguish who’s the students and
who’s the parents and guests. So if you’re a student, raise your hand. All right, look at that group.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Students, we salute you. You have done great. When you joined VISIONS
about two years ago, you may not have had any idea what
you were really getting into. But I think most of you tonight would
have to say, what a great program. And parents, I know you’re excited because
they’re gonna graduate from high school, come to college with a scholarship. And we’re gonna do our very
best to get them graduated from Picayune Community College, so
that they can move on and do great things. So parents, what do you say about that?>>[APPLAUSE]>>I firmly believe that each successful student has at least one
person supporting them. And I see here there are a lot of
people who have one or two, so for those of you who are supporting
our students, thank you, and let’s give them a round of applause.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Well, my job tonight is to introduce
a few of our very special guests. And I’d like to start by
introducing Geri Lassiter. Geri, stand, Geri. [LAUGH] Geri represents the Eddie and
Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation. She is a true partner for us. She meets with us regularly. She calls us and helps us get everything
done we’re supposed to do for you. So thank you, Geri. She’s gonna speak with you
a little later tonight. Let’s give her a hand. [APPLAUSE]>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Dr. Ethan Lenker, our Superintendent of
Pitt County Schools, is with us, and we know this is a busy time of year for
you, Dr. Lenker. Thank you for taking time. And he believes this program is important,
too, so thank you so much.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Representatives of Pitt Community College,
I’m gonna call your name and I’m gonna ask you to stand and then we’ll
give you all a round of applause together. Dr. Thomas Gould,
Vice President of Academic Affairs. Lori Preast, Assistant Vice President
of Academic Affairs. Rick Owens,
Vice President of Administrative Services. Dr. Donald Spell,
Vice President of Student Development. Ina Rawlinson,
Director of Human Resources. Alton Wadford, Director of Career and
College Promise program. John Carrere, I didn’t see John,
but I hope he’s here. Recruitment and Orientation Specialist. And also representing PCC,
two of our PCC Foundation Board members. Miss Diane Waters, our Chairman of
the PCC Foundation, and Simone Pay, also a Foundation Board member. Let’s thank them.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>There are some very important people in this room who worked
with these students daily. And I want you to know how much
we appreciate the opportunity to walk with your
students in your schools. And I wanna recognize you now,
if you’ll stand when I call your name, and then we’ll applaud
all of you as a group. Ayden Grifton High School,
Chena Cayton, our principal. DH Conley High School,
Tarrus Carr, assistant principal. Farmville Central High School,
Janice Moore, assistant principal, and Linda Hardy, administrative assistant. JH Rose High School,
Monica Jacobson, principal. North Pitt High School,
Maurice Harris, principal, and Willie Joyner, assistant principal. South Central High School,
Janarde Cannon, Principal. These principals and assistant principals,
they are the backbone. Let’s give them a round of applause.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you, principals. We know your role in leadership
at the high schools is so important for so many things. Thank you for working with us,
and believing that this program is extremely important to your
students and to your community. We certainly do appreciate you, and at this time, that concludes my part,
and [INAUDIBLE]. Jerry Laster from the Student
family foundation has some words of greeting from the foundation.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Thank you so much. I want to say thank you to
all of the Vision staff for inviting me to be here tonight. I am extremely thrilled and honored to be
here to see all of your wonderful faces. I’ve been hearing reports about you for
the past two years and they’ve all been really good. You have a lot to live up to. But I think you’ve already
lived up to a lot of it. So I wanna bring greetings
tonight from the Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation. Four people in particular. Eddie and Jo Allison and their son, Chris. They have been funding this program
since it started 13 years ago. You are the 13th class to graduate. And they are very pleased and excited. They have a lot of pride in this program. And it’s students like you through
the years that have kept their pride high because they see what
you’ve been able to accomplish and that means the world to them. The other one that I wanna
mention is Herman Simon. He’s kinda like the brain
behind this whole program, but I have to say he is also one of
the many hearts behind this program. He had a difficult road as a youngster,
and he wanted to do something to give back to young people who may
have a difficult road as he did. And so, he started this program along
with the help of Susan Nobles and many other people. And it was his brainchild and
his heart that made this program happen. All four of those people, Eddie, Joe
Ellison, Chris, and Herman have a lot of confidence in you, and they know that you
will succeed at Pitt Community College. I wanna thank our partners
that work on this program. Mr. Smith always says, I write the checks,
or I sign the checks, but they do the really heavy lifting. And I’ll just name off some of
the jobs that these people do without naming their names,
you all know who you are. In the Pitt County Schools the guidance
counselors, the principals, the assistant principals, teachers,
career coaches, superintendents, assistant superintendents, the visions mentors, and
many more people at the high school level. Thanks to the PCC foundation,
who help us with the funding, there are funding partners in all of this. And then, the vision staff and all the other people at Pitt Community
College that make it possible. The scholarship committee,
the success navigators. All the departments that are involved
in the summer institute and orientation and I could go on and on. I know I’ve missed somebody,
so I apologize for that. But daily, they work to improve
Palm Mission of guiding these deserving students toward
achieving very important goals. So we wanna say thank you to
all of those people tonight. I also wanna say
congratulations to the parents. I know how excited you must be right now. I was the parent of two that
graduated from high school, and it’s a very exciting time. And I wanna say
congratulations to all of you. And then, to the vision students, I wanna
talk to you for just a minute, too. This is a really wonderful
time in your lives, and you really need to enjoy it and
make the most of it. And in order to make the most of it
I wanna tell you a little story about riding a bicycle. You’ve been peddling a bicycle up a very
steep hill for a number of years. It’s been a tough ride at times,
a really tough ride, I’m sure. Sometimes you had to stand
up to peddle that bicycle. You may have had to use some muscles
that you didn’t know you had. You may have even broken a sweat from
time to time, but you’ve made it. You are at the top of the hill and
you’re about to graduate. So congratulations for that. But I also wanna say, don’t be tempted to
coast down the other side of that hill. It’s a great temptation, but
don’t be tempted by that. You could start riding down that hill. It would be pretty easy. A lot easier than it was going up. You might take your hands
off the handlebars. At some point, you might run
across a rock and hit that rock. The bicycle’s going that way,
and you’re going that way. And it’s gonna be difficult
to recover from that. So you need to listen to
your vision staff mentors. They’re gonna help you so
that you won’t be tempted to coast. They’re gonna help you make
it at Pitt Community College. And I just wanna say congratulations
to each and every one of you tonight. We are so proud.>>[APPLAUSE]>>All right, I would like to start by recognizing
five people who allowed Jim and I access to our students
on a regular basis. The career development coordinators
are connected to pay county schools and our students. Thank you for answering our question
on how connect the students on top of all other jobs thank you for
all the effort you put in to visions. You handle the application process,
work on summary, prepare report. Network with your schools and
support our visions program unfailingly. You’re the bridge between students and
visions. We truly could not do
what we do without you. I would like to call
the CDCs to the front and allow you all the opportunity to thank
them for all that they do for us. So Emily Duke from
South Central High School.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Carla Jones from Farmall Central High School and
High School.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Howe Ffom North High School.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And Emily Evans, from High School.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>[INAUDIBLE]>>And Ashley Wagner, from J High School.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>[INAUDIBLE]>>Thank you all so much for all you do. I would also like to say a special thank
you to daughter [INAUDIBLE] superintendent of Pitt County schools. We appreciate the partnership
with the school system and for you allowing the schools
to meet with our students. We are honored to have the principles and assistant principles from the high schools
here as well, and we appreciate you taking the time to celebrate with our
special group of students. Lastly, I would like to thank our
institutional advancement staff, several of them are here. We could not do a lot of the things
that we do without them, so if you’re part of a institutional
advancement, if you’ll stand up right now, we would appreciate it.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>There are more here, they just didn’t stand. And finally, I would like to thank Ms.
Tansy Evans. She is our administrative assistant for
the Visions program. She’s a vital part of our team, but
a lot of times she’s in the background and we don’t always get to see her. But she makes all of our jobs easier. And students, I can promise you, you want
to make her your best friend next year. She is the front door of
Visions a lot of times and she can get you the answers
quicker than anyone. So one, always look for Tansy. Thank you for all you do for
the Visions Program.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Before we get started with student awards, we have
a very special treat for you tonight. Our students are talented in many ways,
and we love to hear about those things, and we love to showcase those things and
their accomplishments. Tonight, we get to see
one of those things, Miss Miranda Harris is gonna dance for us. And we are so excited about it.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And She is a senior at South Central High School, and-
>>[APPLAUSE]>>I asked Miranda about what dance meant to her and
this is what she said. She said dancing makes me feel
creative and express how I’m feeling. I want people to know that you can
always find something to help you come out of your comfort zone. Dancing just happens to be mine. And when I dance,
I feel like I’m in a whole new world. I am thrilled that we are getting to see
Miranda’s passion come alive tonight. [MUSIC]>>[APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]>>[APPLAUSE]>>Thank you again, Miranda>>[APPLAUSE]>>You have already heard the name Herman Simon several times this evening. Mr. Herman Simon is the financial
consultant for the Eddie and Johnson Smith Family Foundation. His vision to develop a program to
assist the vision students is why we’re all sitting here this evening. The Herman Simon Awards are awarded
to students based on their academic achievement. The Herman Simon Award for achieving the highest overall GPA
in Visions 2017 is Valerie Juarez.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>[INAUDIBLE] High School.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Valerie had an unweighted GPA of 3.62 at the end
of the first semester of this school year. Valerie, will you please
come forward at this time?>>[APPLAUSE]>>Along with Valerie, this Visions group has
worked hard academically. I would like to recognize every student,
according to my records, with a 3.0 or higher GPA at the end of
the first semester of this school year. Would the following people please stand
at your seat when your name is called. Nathaniel Bassoon.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Rain Burch, Chenazia Bright, Odyssey Brown.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Tee Canady.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Rebecca Cologne, Jamie Corey.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Kristin Coward, Francis Downing, Dulce Estrada,
Owen Gains, Adam Garris, Devon Gorham. Allison Hadick, Dylan Harris, Trent Harris, Ryan Jones, Ebony Jones, Valerie Juarez, Zacactia Morgan, Palma, Joel Palma, Dino Rodriguez, Austin Ross, Edgar Rubio, Sheila Sitar.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jenna Stanburg.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jordan Summerland.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Brianna Trayho, Titus Williams, and Lauren Yeng [APPLAUSE]>>Congratulations on your
outstanding achievement.>>Can we sit down?
>>You can sit, yes.>>[LAUGH]
>>Some of you may not know but it is extremely hard to improve
your grade point average after your junior year in high school. Especially if your freshman,
sophomore years were not strong. But it is possible. This year we have two students
receiving the Herman Simon award for having the most improved GPA for
Visions 2007. Effie Jones from VH Colling High School.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And Sheilah Zator from Jay Troas High School
>>[APPLAUSE]>>Effie and please come up at the>>Congratulations.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>The following students have also worked diligently on their academics
and they were accepted into the VISIONS program in fall of They have improved
their GPA at least two-tenths of a point. Please stand at your seat
when I call your name. Watson Evans.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Effie Jones.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>China Jointer>>[APPLAUSE]>>Vino Rodriguez>>[APPLAUSE]>>[APPLAUSE]>>Sheila Satar>>[APPLAUSE]>>Dara Smith>>[APPLAUSE]>>Chiana Spicer.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]>>[INAUDIBLE] All right. Do you. At this time, we are going to have
a special award for students. Hold on, I think, am I messed up?>>No. Good.>>I’m good? Okay, sorry,
I’m getting a little fright for a minute. Every year, for the past couple of years,
Wells Fargo has been generous enough to give an additional
scholarship to our students. This year, Mr. Jim Foster wasn’t able to
join us, but he asked on his behalf for us to award this scholarship as well. And this year we’re gonna award it
to two well deserving students. These students have over
a 3.0 GPA in high school, and over a 3.6 GPA in the non PCC classes that
they have taken over the last two years. They not only excel in the classroom, but also in the community by serving as
a volunteer with their local church. They never leave a seminar without
asking what they can do to help or by just saying thank you. I am pleased to present Dillon and Trent Harris with the Wells Fargo
>>[APPLAUSE]>>And now presents>>[APPLAUSE]>>[INAUDIBLE]>>[APPLAUSE]>>They’re coming.>>[INAUDIBLE]
>>[APPLAUSE]>>[APPLAUSE]>>You did a good job.>>[LAUGH]
>>Here you all go, congratulations.>>Thank you.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jim Shallow, Visions’ high school technical
coordinator will now come and recognize the achievements
of our technical students.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Starting with the class of 2016, Visions developed a new position to work
directly with students planning to go into the construction and
industrial technology field of study. I have enjoyed getting to see these men
and women develop their technical skills. And help direct them in their majors and
career choices. At this time, I would like to recognize
the Visions technical students that have a GPA of 3.5 or
higher in the technical education courses they were enrolled in in
their respective schools. These courses would include core and
sustainable construction, carpentry, auto mechanics, and welding. Will the following students
please stand and be recognized? Owen Gaines.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Adam Garrett.>>And.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you. I would also like to recognize the
following Visions Technical students that have a GPA between a 3.0 and
3.5 in their technical education courses. Would the following students please
stand and be recognized, Jonathan Ayers.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Arturo DeLarosa.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And Daniel Rodriguez.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>The students in the construction and
industrial technology division at Pitt Community College are a vital
link to our community. These are the people we call on when our
heating unit and air condition unit fails. We have electrical problems
in our homes and businesses. We want to remodel our home or
design and build a new home, or fabricate a product that
makes our lives better, and to service our automobiles to keep them
safe, and tuned for best performance. Upon graduating from
the Pitt Community College, these technical students will further
their education to enter the business and industry workforce, and
fill a vital role in our community. Will you join me in congratulating
them with a round of applause?>>[APPLAUSE]
>>A few years ago, North Carolina put in a new initiative
called Multiple Measures in place to help students begin their
college career in academics. Multiple Measures, which allows students
who have taken four math classes and have a cumulative, unweighted GPA of
over 2.6, to bypass the placement test. We are pleased to announce that 45
students from the Visions’ class of 2017 have placed out of developmental
classes when they begin in the fall. Will the following students please
stand at your seat: Ricky Andrews,>>[APPLAUSE]>>Nathaniel Descern,>>[APPLAUSE]>>Rayne Birch,>>[APPLAUSE]>>Tenisha Bright>>[APPLAUSE]>>Odyssey Brown>>[APPLAUSE]>>Patricia Kennedy>>[APPLAUSE]>>Rebecca Cologne.>>[APPLAUSE].>>Jamie Corey.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Kristen Coward.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Atero Delerosa.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Frances Downing.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Rosie Estrada.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Adam Geras. [APPLAUSE]
>>Devin Bowl. Terrapin Percy. Allison Haddie. Miranda Harris. Shelly Jackson. Ania Jackson. Effie Jones. Emerald Jones. Brianna Jones.>>[APPLAUSE].>>Valerie Juarez. Ayafes Mitchell. Leticia Morgan. Shaquana Fergus. Daniel Rodriguez. Yesenia Romero-Lozano.>>Woo hoo, Yesenia.>>Sheila Satur. Dora Smith. Joshua Stamper. Jordan Samoan. Noelie Elida Tryo. [LAUGH] Tyrese Williams. And Lori Hannon.>>[APPLAUSE]>>We also have several students
who took the placement test. He were able to place out of
developmental math or English. When I call your name
please stand at your seat. Placed out of English, Jaquarious Doughty.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Owen Gaines. Dylan Harris. Trenton Harris. Necerio Roses-Palra.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And Austin Rose.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Also out of math, Edgar Rubio and Watson Hebbens.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>By placing out of developmental courses, it
is going to save these students time and money, as they make their way through PCC. Please give all these
students a round of applause.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>At this time I would like to invite Mrs.
Ashley Smith director of Alumni and Development Services
to come to the podium. Career in college promised is a program that permits
high school students to enroll in community college courses and
receive credit for these courses. Many of the Vision students took
part in and successfully completed at least one of these classes over
the last two years, and in doing so, this makes them an official alumni
of Pitt Community College, Ashley?>>[LAUGH]
>>Hi. Well, congratulations.
Not only for about graduating high school, but also for being an official
Pitt Community College Alum. So give yourself a hand,
for those of you that are.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Okay. When I call out your name, I just want
you to stand up, but you get a surprise, but it’s with your something else later. And it’s this beautiful alumni tumbler,
because when you get to college you need a lot of coffee, or hot tea,
or something to make it through. So this is what you’re gonna put it in,
and I wanna see, I’ll carry them around and if I don’t
then, I would say where’s your mug at. So here we go. All right, I will do this. Ray Birch. Shanazia Bright. Odyssey Brown. Rebecca Cologne. Jamie Corey. Dacquarius Downey. Francis Downing. Jerry Edwards. Dolce Estrada. Watson Evans. Owen Gaines. Adam Garris. Devin Gorem. Erica Gerkins-Percy. Allison Haddock. There’s a lot of you, good.>>[LAUGH]
>>Tyree Carrol. Tyrese Carrol. Dylan Harris. Trent Harris. Miranda Harris. Brianna Jones. Effie Jones. Emerald Jones. China Joiner. Trayvon. No, I already did her. Teanvey, sorry. Long, Ariane Moore. Latasha Morgan. Varinese Perez. Daniel Rodriguez-Yasinia. Rosa Scora. Curly Ross. Austin Ross. Edgar Rubio. Darren Smith. Tayana Spicer. Joshua Stanford. Titus William and Laura Yancey.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>You all should be so proud of yourselves for going ahead and
taking college credits, and getting those out of the way, and
that’s an amazing accomplishment. And I’m glad to have you as PCC alum.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Thank you, Ashley. We always like to include her
to spice it up a little bit, you never know what she might do. One of the many things we stress to
our students from the very first time we meet with them,
is the importance of attendance, we try to prepare them to be ready to
attend class in college and we want them to know the importance of putting
school first with their busy schedules. Over the past 18 months we have had 10
seminars for students to attend and 27 students from the class of
2007 had perfect attendance. So when we call your name,
we would like you to stand. Brittany Andrews. Rain Birch. Rebecca Bloom. Joseph Copley. Owen Gaines. Adam Garris. Jimmy Shahardy. Tareek Hill. Tyrese Harold. Dylan Harris. Trent Harris. Shelly Jackson. Effie Jones. Valerie Horace. Tian De Long. Naevan Mitchel. Arianne Moore. Austin Ross. Edgar Rubio. Tianna Spicer. Joshua Stamper. Jordan Summerlin. Naley Villatrejo, sorry. Jameel Worthington. And Lori Annis.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Some of our students miss things because of sports
or different things, school related. But we just felt like this was
an important thing to recognize, because we really feel
like being at things and showing that you are dedicated
is a huge accomplishment. So we thank y’all for attending all of
the things that Vision’s provided for you. At this time, I’m gonna ask Maryanne and
Stefan to come to the podium and we are going to present our
students with their plaques.>>I’m so excited that when we call
your name you get to come forward and receive something. Isn’t that exciting?>>So believing that you
are graduating in a few weeks, I present the following students
as a Visions Class of 2017. Please come forward to
receive your plaque.>>And if we would have the CDC’s come up
before we call the names of your school, we’d love for you to be part of handing
the plaque and the awards to the students.>>So
we’ll start with my Ayden-Grifton charges.>>[APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE]>>I’m a little biased, because I was in charge of myself.>>[LAUGH]
>>[INAUDIBLE]>>All right, so Tyra Best.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Odyssey Brown.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jamie Corey.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Dolce Estrada.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jamisha Hardy, Valerie Juarez, Tiambi Long, Veronese Perez.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Danny Rodriguez,>>[APPLAUSE]>>Yesenia Rose Espara, Edgar Rubio, Erica Shepherd, Joshua Stanford and
Jamil Worthington.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Okay, let’s try the DH Conley Vikings. Do we have any of those out here?>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Will the following vikings please come forward when I call your name.>>Go, Vikings.>>Woohoo!>>Betsy Bustos.>>[LAUGH]
>>Hugo Chair S Alamo. Owen Games. Adam Gareth. Devin Gorham
>>Devin, woohoo!>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Dylan Harris. Trent Harris. Shelly Jackson. Ethy Gens. Carly Ross.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jesse Sanchez Angel. Titus Williams. And Laura Gainez.>>[APPLAUSE]>>All right, next up we have our Central Jaguars. [APPLAUSE]
>>Treyvon Banes.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Kristen Coward. [APPLAUSE]
>>Arturo DeLaRosa>>[APPLAUSE]>>Kevana Forbes.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Allison Haddock.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Stacey Latimore. [APPLAUSE]
>>Mitchell.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Ashley Sanchez.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Taekwon Sinclair.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And Leticia West.>>Yeah!>>[APPLAUSE] And next we have our rampants from VHOs!>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Will the following students come
forward when I call your name? Jonathon Aires.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Rain Burch.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Shaniziya Bright.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Watson Evans.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Annaya Jackson.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Emeril Jones.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Shaina Joyner.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Anthony Little.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Morgan. Delmy Palma.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Joel Palma.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Sheila Satur>>[APPLAUSE]>>Stephanie Salvario.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Dara Smith.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And Sarah Winfield.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Let’s give them around of applause.>>[APPLAUSE]>>All right, next we have our North Pitt Panthers.>>[APPLAUSE]>>All right, Britney Andrews.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Nathaniel Beson.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>[INAUDIBLE]. Francis Downey.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jerry Edwards.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Destiny Griggs.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jasmine Moore Stevenson.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Chiquana Purvis. Yesenia Romero Lazano.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Jordan Summerlin.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Deyada Trejo.>>[APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE]>>Do we have any Falcons out there?>>[APPLAUSE]
>>I can always count on my
Falcons to be rowdy.>>[LAUGH]
>>I love it. I had a Falcon so I get it. [LAUGH] Okay. Will the following students
come when I call the name. Cortasia Kennedy.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Rebecca Cologne.>>[APPLAUSE].>>Joseph Hofley.>>[APPLAUSE].>>Jacquarius Downey.>>[APPLAUSE].>>Erica Gurkins Percy.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Tareq Harrell.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Tyrese Harrell.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Miranda Harris.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Brianna Jones.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Arianne Moore.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Austin Ross.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>Tiana Spicer,>>[APPLAUSE]>>And that is all, can we have a hand for those students?>>[APPLAUSE]>>And let’s have one more hand for all of our Vision students.>>[APPLAUSE]>>I’m pretty sure we’re gonna have to ask them open the next room next year,
this is our largest class so far, and we’re just blowing out of this room
which is really, really exciting. Okay, so one of the joys that I
have Each year is attending our Pitt Community College
graduation ceremony. We just had it last week, and we watched almost 700 students walk
across the stage, but of course, I am especially proud of our Visions
graduates from Pitt Community College. They set in the same seats that
you are sitting in tonight. Not knowing exactly what
their future would hold, but believing that education
was their next step. Tonight, I would like to introduce you to
a student who was a Vision High School student, and a Visions college student,
and who has completed their education at Pitt Community College having taken those
next steps that you’re about to take. I’d like for Dianne Garcia to come
on up to the stage right now, Dianne is an Ayden-Grifton High School
graduate, and has an Associate’s Degree in applied science from Pitt Community
College in advertising and graphic design. And so I’d like for her to share because
I think the best way for us to share a little bit about how this works is for
you to hear from someone whose done it.>>[APPLAUSE]>>Good evening my name is Diane Garcia. I graduated from
Ayden-Grifton School in 2013. I recently graduated at
Pitt Community College in 2016 with my Associates in Advertising and
Graphic Design. I am currently working at a small
business as the main graphic designer. I have been working there for a year and
a half now and as of right now, I have been accepted to Barton College to
go for my bachelors degree in journalism. After graduating from there, I am planning
to go either to Raleigh or New York. One of the things that I have always
told myself is to have a plan B, nor would it have to have a plan C. I believe that it is always important
to keep your priorities right, to be organized about everything. The business program taught me to be
neat and organized of what I want. I was the kind of student that didn’t
wanted to ask questions because I was so shy and
I didn’t want it to be a burden to people. Thankfully, when I got into this program
the Vision staff told us to not hesitate to ask questions or for
help and just do it. So that’s what I did. There was a point where I wanted to quit,
because I felt like I wasn’t, I didn’t fit into
the graphic design program. At the time Mary Ann Cox was the person
that was in the business program, and we talked about it. She told me to try a year, and if it’s still not the right fit,
that we could evaluate from there. I tried for that one year, and in that year, I won prizes and
I was recognized for my work. I saw the potential I had,
I had failing to accept it. The business program molded me from
someone that had very little financial ability to attend school and very little
confidence to someone who did it. I learned to tell myself that I can do
it and grow in those aspects of my life. Being the underdog wasn’t so
bad after all. I had to work hard with much blood,
sweat, and tears. For those who think the impossible
isn’t possible, trust me, it is. Remind yourself that you have
the Vision staff, your family, your friends, that can give you
that little push and moral support. The people in the graphic design
program became my second family. Towards the last year
of my program at PCC, we had a big portfolio show
we had to get ready for. I was finishing my project and
when I was cutting out my projects, I accidentally chopped off a piece
of my thumb and had to go to the. When I came back to
the school the next day, people in the program
asked me if I was okay. And they were able to help me, in so
many ways, to complete that project. I thought it was every man on their
own in life, but I was proven wrong. And that they helped me complete
that those projects, in order for me to display that day for
my portfolio show. I also thank my teacher, Eleanor Willard. She’s in charge of
the graphic design program. It was an amazing woman. She encouraged me to apply to Barton and
keep going with my education. I listened, and I got accepted. Work hard, it’ll be worth it in the end. I read a quote before getting ready for
this speech, life is like a piano. The white key represents happiness,
the black keys represent sadness. But through life, remember that
the black keys make music too. Meaning even though you have hardships,
they can lead you to your happiness. Do what you love and
desire, and good luck. Thank you for those who have provided
this scholarship for me, and so that I can attend PCC, and for those
who helped me with the vision program. Best of luck, Vision classes of 2017.>>[APPLAUSE]>>I wish that, several years ago, when she graduated that you could have
come to her portfolio show that they did. Any business person in this town
would have have hired her to create their business cards, their pictures. It was amazing, And
you all it was just absolutely amazing. Our advertising graphic
design program is fantastic. Thank you Diane.
The second person that I asked to come and speak tonight was actually not able to
come and he has a very good reason. We put it, his picture up here, and I’d like to share a little bit of what
he was going to say this evening. Trayvonne Barnes was a student at
Farmville High School, graduated and he graduated from Pitt Community College
with his Associates in criminal justice. Just last week, he accepted a position as a police officer
with the Wilson Police Department and yes.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>And fortunate for him but unfortunate for us,
his first call of duty was this evening.>>[LAUGH]
>>And so he had an orientation so he could not be here with us tonight. But he did share a few words that I thought I would just share. With you.
He says, when I started at Pitt Community College, I didn’t
have a ride to campus and they went, speaking of the visions program, went
through so much to help me get to campus. I was grateful that Newton Smith,
who is also one of our institutional
advancement staff members, was able to help me get there
when my rides fell through. Trayvonne, actually, and
I’ll just put my side in here, Trayvonne walked to school even
while he was a student at Farmville, walked several miles actually to school,
and we realized that he was so dedicated to his education, he got a ride
from Farmville part of the way to Pitt but was walking about three or four miles
from the drop off just to get to school everyday, and so
we just really admired his dedicatio, for an education and so
he is a great role model in that. He says the Visions program has
made a difference in my life in so many ways including being a great
reference when it came to jobs. I guess it worked. [LAUGH] They did call me last week. To all the seniors who now
are becoming freshmen in college, I would encourage you to stay focused and
work hard to get what you want. The Visions Program is like a family
with an entire network of current and former students. Go see them when you need help, and
don’t be afraid to ask questions. They will point you in
the right direction. I would also like to thank those
who supported the Visions Program financially, to
the Smith Family Foundation and the Pitt Community College Foundation and to all those who have
given to the program. I could not have done
college without them, I would not have been able to
do this without your support. you have made a difference in my life and
many others. Best of luck to the Visions Class of 2017. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE]
>>I would also like to say thank you to one other student that we
have this year that just walked across that stage last week. This is a very special person for our program and
her name is Deanna Whitehurst. And Deanna, I’d like for you to come forward too. Deanna Is a graduate of D.H. Conley High
School and of Pitt Community College. And she is really special to us, because she has been our work study
student in the Visions program. So most all of you have seen her from everything from
Summer Institute to our seminars. She’s checked you in, she’s answered your
phone calls when you’ve called the office, she’s helped us get our mailings out. And we are very very excited for her. Office Administration was her degree. And we are sure she’s gonna have
a job in the next week or two. So we’re really excited, but
we wanna say thank you to you, and I have a little something for
you over there too, so.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>All right
>>So to the students, thank you for sharing. Gemena honestly cannot put into words how
extremely proud of all of you we are. We are impressed by the way you’ve
juggled schoolwork, jobs, sports and other activities. Many of you receive college credit, thanks
to career and college promise programs.>>Program.
We are amazed at how many of you worked over 25 hours a week on
top of going to school. We would like to thank you for
allowing us to be a part of your lives. We know we did not always know the answers
to your questions, but we appreciated your patience and your reminders when we
didn’t get back to you right away. You’ve taught us quite a bit
over the last two years. You have kept us on our toes and helped
us see life in different perspectives. We love each and every one of you and know
that our office doors are always open to you, and
we are never more than a phone call away. We know that each of you
are capable of amazing things and cannot wait to see where this
adventure called life takes you. Thank you. At this time,
with a little bit of sadness and with a whole lot of excitement, Jim and
I are handing you over to Marian and Stephen to be Visions College students. Stephen?
>>[APPLAUSE]>>[APPLAUSE]>>All right, so they’ve turned you guys over to us.>>[LAUGH]
>>I promise, you’re in good hands. Hopefully you’ve seen that from the time
we’ve interacted with each other. But anyway, all right. I’m gonna share with you a passage from a
book that I just recently started reading.>>And when I read it,
I immediately thought of you guys. And to be honest, I read it
before I was even asked to speak. So it reminded me of how amazing it is
how God gives us the things we need often before we know that we need them. Or, rather we become aware of s
>>something that God has already prepared for
us that we didn’t know we needed before So one reason this passage resonated with me
is because it speaks to what I consider to be a success principle and one that each
of you will need as you transition to the next stage of your educational journey
and just as you continue on living. This principle is courage. Another reason is because it reminds
me of our seminar where we discussed the leadership concept, and talked about
being a thermometer and a thermostat. So parents, and those who don’t know
what I’m referring to when I say that, we used the analogy of a thermostat and a thermometer in talking
about being a leader. And we talked about how a thermostat
sets the temperature or sets the climate of its environment. Versus a thermometer which only reflects
the temperature and the climate and its surroundings. So as a leader, there’s a time to be both. But anyway, I’ll read the passage, and
then I’ll talk more about what I mean. So the passage reads.>>There comes a time in
the lives of those destined for greatness we must stand before
the mirror of meaning and ask why? Having been endowed with the courageous
heart of a lion do we live as mice. We must look squarely into our own
tired eyes and examine why we waste so much time sniffing at every distraction, while we cower at the thought of
revealing our true selves to the world. While we scurry so quickly from conflict
and while we consent to play small, we must ask why we participate so
humbly in society’s frantic race allowing ourselves into its mazes
of mediocrity and settling for scraps of reward when nature has
offered us unlimited freedom, power and abundance to the bold,
the determined, the creative. The independent to each of us,
and to all of you. We must ask if our desires to
feel safe and accepted are, in fact, enslaving us to
popular opinion and to board. So after reading that, hopefully, you can
understand why this passage resonates so deeply with me, in regard to you,
the 2017 Visions College freshman class. If not, I’ll explain why. So many of you are investing in your
future by enrolling in college. But if you take a second to think, some of the people you associate with
may not have the same goals as you. And as a result,
they have a different mindset. With that being said,
if you do continue to associate with them. Which is up to you. There will be times when they may
become a distraction from your responsibilities as a college student. They may be draining you of your energy. You may feel like you’re missing out
on all the fun, all the festivities, the parties, or whatever they may
be getting into or engaged in. So my question to you is do you have
the courage to separate yourself? Do you have the courage to rise
to the challenge that college and life will present you with? Do you have the courage to
challenge those associates or friends in question to want to do and
be better? The thermostats in the room, of course,
will answer yes to all of these questions. Because they believe in setting
the climate that surround us. The thermometers in the room will
by default also answer yes to these questions.>>[LAUGH]
>>But we all know you judge a tree
by the fruit that it bears.>>[APPLAUSE]
>>So take a look at the fruit that has
fallen to the foot of your tree and make an honest and
transparent assessment about who you are. To be quite honest many times thermometers
don’t even realize they’re thermometer’s so be careful.>>So with that being said
Pitt Community College and the Business program are presenting
you with the following challenges. To take responsibility for
your own success. To reach all the goals you have set for
yourself and when setbacks occur, notice I said when. When setbacks, do what Big Sean’s
song says and bounce back.>>Last but not least, ask for
help and use your resources, i.e., these people sitting right here. Tutoring, career services, and
all the other services on campus. And for my people that have seen Get Out, long
before you fall into that sunken place. So I hope you’re even more excited than I
am to see what’s in store for each of you. So my last chance is you not to
be a immobilized by fear and get caught window
shopping on the what ifs.>>Congratulations.>>[APPLAUSE]>>I don’t even know how to follow
that and my husband’s a pastor. No I do want to close by thanking each and
every one of you for coming tonight, we are so excited for you. Please, I think you’ve heard throughout
the evening, we are here for you. Parents, students, we want to be
here to help you transition to Pitt Community College, and
we are looking forward to having you. Whether you’re coming to an ACA class
this Summer, coming to an orientation, to get you ready. We want to be there to help
you with the transition. Thank you so much for coming and
we look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks.>>[APPLAUSE]