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May 12, 2018
HCC Hosts 51st Commencement Ceremony
WELDON, N.C. – Halifax Community College (HCC) proudly hosted its 2018 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12. The celebration was HCC's fifty-first commencement.

More than 1200 people gathered at The Griffin Centre to celebrate with the graduates as they took the final steps in this part of their academic journey. For some, it was the culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice and commitment. It was the moment they had been waiting for since their first day.

The commencement speaker this year was North Carolina Senator Erica D. Smith. During her address, she congratulated the graduates on making it this far, and used personal examples to remind them of the need for honor, commitment and courage. "Whether you are an investment banker or a street sweeper," Sen. Smith said, "you have accomplished nothing if you have no honor." As she continued, Sen. Smith challenged the graduates, and all in attendance, to remember that the community benefits from everyone’s success. "If you get hurt, it’s someone else’s child who hurt you,” she said. "When you go to the hospital, it’s someone else’s child who fixes you. We all need each other, and this community relies on every individual to ensure we are successful in the future.”

After the Honorable Erica Smith spoke, faculty and students who had demonstrated excellence in the last year were recognized. Nina Swank, a math instructor, was recognized as the 2018 Excellence in Teaching winner. Jason Shotwell, welding instructor, was recognized as the Excellence in Academic Advising winner.

Regina Powers, a graduate in early childhood education, was selected as one of 58 students in the state as the “Great within the 58” academic excellence award. Powers was chosen as the winner for HCC by the North Carolina Community College System office, and was presented with a plaque and a medallion to recognize her success.

In addition to individual recognition, students graduating with academic honors were recognized. Those graduating with grade point averages between 3.7 and 4.0 were recognized, and their designated medals were explained. In addition, members of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honors Society were also recognized.

The administration and HCC Board of Trustees took time to acknowledge the individuals and organizations that have contributed to the success of HCC during the last academic year, most assuredly improving the lives of all students. The 2018 Presidential Partners awards were presented to the following recipients: Education Credit Management Corporation, Lowe’s Distribution Center and The Center for Energy Education.

More than 500 certificates, diplomas and degrees were conferred during the commencement ceremony, and the graduates were congratulated heartily by Dr. Michael Elam, president of HCC. “Class of 2018, you have taken tremendous strides in your education today and you should be very excited,” he said. “You are ready to face the world, and I believe in you. Today, as you leave Halifax Community College, exit with extreme confidence knowing that you are well prepared and equipped to achieve your dreams, and we are all proud of your accomplishments.”

In response to the speakers, and as a voice for the graduates of the Class of 2018, Jekyra Brooks offered words of encouragement to her fellow students. She reminded them of the impact HCC had on their lives, and encouraged them to remember the lessons they learned.

As the graduates and the distinguished guests processed out of the ceremony, they were reminded of Elam’s words. The 2018 class of HCC exited to “Happy,” a song from 2014 that served as a reminder of the joyous occasion.
Halifax Community College's Mission
Halifax Community College strives to meet the diverse needs of our community by providing high-quality, accessible and affordable education and services for a rapidly changing and globally competitive marketplace.
Media Contact: Molly Wallace, Director of Public Relations & Marketing, mwallace786@halifaxcc.edu, 252-538-4319