47th commencement ceremony at NCC honors class of 2018
Their careers at NCC may have officially come to an end Saturday afternoon at the 47th Commencement, but their future’s as alumni are just beginning.
The Hon. Melanie Levesque, class of 1980, gave the commencement address, noting, “When you leave here today, some of you will go into the workforce, some will go on to higher education and others will be entrepreneurs and start your own business. Please remember this is your world. Yours to enjoy and yours to be responsible for.”
She advised the graduates to keep an eye out for opportunities, and that they sometimes come as problems or challenges. She said finding the solution to those challenges can be the start of a new business or a field of interest.
“Where there is a problem and a need, there is an opportunity,” Levesque said.
She concluded her address by thanking the class of 2018 for allowing her to share her journey from her time at NCC to where she is now, and said that tomorrow is a new day.
“It is the beginning of the rest of your lives. Be proud of your accomplishments, use them as your springboard, live your life to the fullest and soar!”
Other speakers included the student address, given by Hannah Croce, and the president’s address, given by Lucille Jordan.
Jordan said that as a class, these graduates logged 4,129 hours of service to the community.
“Yes, you came to class, but you did more, through your courage, resolve and generous hearts you worked daily to improve the lives of others in the Greater Nashua Region,” Jordan said.
In her address, she said 22 years ago, she was given sage advice by the late New Hampshire Gov. Walter Peterson, her mentor. He was a basketball player who had a love for the Boston Celtics. She said that often times while they were talking, he’d weave basketball analogies into the conversation to get his point across.
“Walter was telling me to have the courage to do the right thing for students, don’t worry about getting the headlines. Success is doing the right thing,” Jordan said.
She then looked up at the the sea of students and attendees and passed on her own basketball advice to the class of 2018.
“Be willing to set goals and work for them, don’t let yourself slip into the three-point syndrome, where unless you hit a three point(er), you may as well not try,” Jordan said. “Believe in the power of one, the power of you, the individual and the ability within each of us to make a difference.”
Toward the end of her address, she challenged students to commit themselves to making a difference in the lives of others, to make it part of their dreams, and to leave a legacy, not for thousands or hundreds of people, but to start by changing the world for one.
“Congratulations, and on behalf of the faculty and administration, it has been a privilege to walk with you, serve with and learn from you during your time with us,” Jordan said.
Prior to both the president’s address and the commencement address, Croce gave the student address.
Jordan said that Croce’s next step is to pursue her bachelor’s degree and then, perhaps, law school.
“Sitting before me are people from different generations, different socioeconomic status and different backgrounds,” Croce said. “But, we all came together for one purpose, to better ourselves and the world we live in through education. When education is not restricted based on age, resources or fitting the ‘traditional student’ description, you gain so much more. You gain perseverance. You gain admiration for others. And you gain perspective.”
She said attending community college may not be the traditional path, but it’s one that brings a great deal of opportunity.
“We are living proof that at any stage of your life, you can choose to change the path you’re on and start a new beginning. This day is proof that you can get whatever out of life you put into it,” Croce said. “Every cup of coffee poured, every hour spent reading and every flashcard has led you to where you are today. Although for some of us, our next path might not contain flashcards, I encourage you to not stop working hard and to continue dreaming.”
While the dreams of hundreds of students came true Saturday, other dreams are soon to be embarked upon. Following the addresses, five awards were presented. The Associate in Arts Degree Honoris Causa and Chancellor’s Award for Service Excellence went to Thomas Jenkins, Chairman of the NCC Advisory Board for 15 years. The Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence went to Professor Jennifer Tripp. The Student Engagement Award went to Croce. The President’s Award for Academic Excellence went to three students who all had a 4.0 GPA. They are Kristine DeCourcey, Howard Lewis and Ruth Sarkasian.
Once awards and speeches had been given, all the students participating in the Commencement Ceremony made their way up to the stage as their names were called, fulfilling one dream as they move on to the next.
Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or email@example.com.