Purpose, passion, persistence highlight RCC’s College and Career Readiness graduation

Amanda Decker watches her fellow graduates receive their diplomas during Randolph Community College's 2018 College and Career Readiness graduation.


ASHEBORO (Dec. 19, 2018)

Thirty-one students out of 54 High School Equivalency graduates and seven Adult High School Diploma graduates who were eligible participated in Randolph Community College’s 2018 College and Career Readiness graduation Thursday, Dec. 13, in the R. Alton Cox Learning Resources Center auditorium on the Asheboro Campus. Workforce Development Innovation and Research/Male Minority Mentoring Coordinator Daniel Ferguson gave the address, and Thelma Garcia Rodriguez, Delmas Connell Blackwell, Christopher May, and Adam Cottle were the student speakers.

Britney Michael receives her diploma from Chairman of the RCC Board of Trustees F. Mac Sherrill.
Workforce Development Innovation and Research/Male Minority Mentoring Coordinator Daniel Ferguson gives the address.

Ferguson, who received a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a master’s in Leadership Studies and Adult Education from North Carolina A&T State University, opened his address with Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken.”

“A lot of times we take a different path and we think that because we took a different path than everybody else, our path isn’t just as good,” Ferguson said. “I’m here to tell you your path is just as good. It is not about the path you take, it is about the journey. ... This is not the end for you all. You still have to write your story. You still have to continue to write your story.”

Garcia Rodriguez, who came to the United States from Mexico in 1996 when she was 18 years old, gave her speech in English and Spanish.

“Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan,” she said, speaking of her winding journey through English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes, High School Equivalency Classes at RCC, and a diploma. “One of my favorite quotes is, ‘A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.’ This quote has always resonated with me as it expresses my journey, not because I believe I am as powerful as a river or as strong as a rock, but because of my persistence and my refusal to give up on my goals.”

Blackwell, who went back to school at 37 years old, spoke of needing to get a job at 16, becoming a truck driver in 1998, starting a family, and landing the “perfect job.”

“The company had a massive layoff and I lost my job,” he said. “With all the disappointments in life, I knew I was headed in the wrong direction, but I didn’t know how to correct it. My only saving grace was my best friend, my right hand, my angel, my wife. ... After every hurdle that life has thrown my way, every time I was so ready to throw the towel in, my wife refused to let me give up.

“When I started this journey, I was so afraid. As I stand here and look around I am reminded that I was never alone. ... For once in my life, I feel like I can accomplish anything. I am so proud to be standing on this stage in a cap and gown.”

May, whose speech was read by College and Career Readiness (CCR) Instructor Philip Schuyler, and Cottle, whose speech was read by Lead Instructor for CCR Melissa Woodell, both overcame pasts that led to imprisonment and thanked RCC for offering programs to those who are incarcerated.

Vice President for Workforce Development and Continuing Education Elbert Lassiter gave the welcome, and Jordan Williamson — Director of Adult Basic Education, ESOL, and Adult High School — presented the candidates for graduation. Chairman of the RCC Board of Trustees F. Mac Sherrill awarded the diplomas.

Williamson finished the program, congratulating the new graduates — sharing some of their heartfelt quotes upon completing their tests — and crediting the CCR Department for its hard work.

“Our staff sees and understands the barriers our students face and what it takes for many of them to walk through our doors every single day,” she said. “Our staff and instructors have studied with you, prayed with you, been a shoulder to cry on, and provided a listening ear when you needed someone. If there was ever a department that meets students where they are and takes them as far as they will go, it is the [CCR] Department.

“Completing our program means that you have reached a milestone in your life. You get to decide what happens next. Your high school diploma can and will open doors for you. ... Celebrate yourself because you deserve it.”

The graduates, listed alphabetically by their cities of residence, were:

High School Equivalency Graduates
Archdale: Valerie Bell, Chad Cunningham, Janice McDowell, Thelma Garcia Rodriguez, Kaile Skeen, Angelikah Tuckmantel
Asheboro: Brandy Brigman, Angela Cagle, Robby Carpenter, Caroline Covington, Ashley Deegan, Tera Endicott, Rebecca Hall, Rachel Hogan, Tiffany Jarrell, Dakota Jennings, Gabriel Johnson, Linda Marshburn, Christionna McDonald, Brittany Pastorick, Jamie Perkins, Seth Ponder, Rafael Rabadan, Jorge Santana, Britany Seagraves, Mynor Javier Archila Suy, Albert Watkins
Bogota, Columbia: Javier Borbon
Fishers, Indiana: Dan Segura-Mercado
Franklinville: Alexandria Craven
Greensboro: Melissa Clayton
High Point: Laura Yates
Lexington: Ryan Williams Moore
Mebane: Christopher May
Pleasant Garden: Richard Atkinson, Delmas Blackwell
Ramseur: Amanda Decker, Britney Michael
Randleman: Samantha Cline, Matthew Harper, Isaiah Little, Kayla Thomas
Rocky Point: Adam Cottle
Seagrove: Lerida Ubaldo Cervantes, Stephen Johnson, Caitlyn Richardson
Sophia: Carl Brown, Tara Brown, Dustan Dunlap
Trinity: Tanya Clark, Kayla Grainger, Georgia Lunsford, John Morton
Troy: Destiny Parnell

Adult High School Diploma Graduates
Asheboro: Miguel Castaneda Jr., Gary Comer, Hollie Haslam, Stacy Haslam
High Point: Ashlyn Townley
Ramseur: Tiffany Sims
Sophia: Seth Henderson