Celebrating Success: Class of 2017 Commencement
725 graduates 874 awards (certificates and degrees)
At commencement on May 13, Cindy Nava, a former SFCC student, energized a packed audience with her keynote address encouraging graduates and their supporters to become leaders and “positive interrupters.” Nava was called one of “40 under 40: Latinos in American Politics” to watch by Huffington Post . Nava said her passion for politics and activism was sparked when she became president of SFCC’s Student Government Association in 2009.
SFCC student speaker Suri Sadai (Garcia Valenzuela) Rincon, 23, came to the U.S. as a child from Mexico. “Believe in others. Believe in their success,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that this will change them; it just means that you have done your part. I am the product of people believing in me.” She received an associate degree in Human Services and plans to continue her studies in social work at New Mexico Highlands University.
Butheina Ghweir, 18, graduated with a Certificate of Academic Transfer, a week before graduating from The MASTERS Program, the high school based at SFCC. “My time at Santa Fe Community College has taught me that being a student is more than attending classes and writing papers. To be a student means to be excited about education. It means showing resilience in the face of difficulty. Most of all, it means to love learning for the sake of learning.” She plans to attend the University of New Mexico in the fall where she will study medicine and psychology. About one quarter of The MASTERS Program school’s graduates earned either a certificate or an associate degree.
There were the usual tears of joy at the May 11 Nursing Pinning ceremony, but particularly grateful were the dozen ITT Tech transfer students, who thanked Interim Nursing Director Terri Tewart.
Tewart, herself, was tearful to see this day finally arrive for her former ITT Tech students and she thanked SFCC as the only nursing program in the state to accept the students after ITT Tech abruptly closed last fall. Congratulations to the 48 students who were pinned by family and friends.
More than 100 students successfully completed their High School Equivalency exams in the Adult Education, Academic and Career Education (ACE) program. Nearly 50 students participated in the May 17 ceremony, which included a keynote speech from New Mexico Cabinet Secretary of Higher Education Barbara Damron, Ph.D. A High School Equivalency certificate gives graduates the credential equivalent of a high school diploma and can open doors to job opportunities and better pay.