Okefenokee Technical College (OTC) held its 2013 spring commencement Friday, June 14, 2013, on the Waycross Campus in the Miller Lecture Hall. The ceremony recognized those individuals who completed graduation requirements spring semester 2013.
The keynote speaker at OTC’s commencement, K.C. Thornton, referenced a familiar literature piece, C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia in his introductory remarks. He praised OTC graduates for overcoming obstacles in order to accomplish an educational goal and compared their defining decision to pursue higher education and ensuing achievement to the circumstances of Lucy in the second novel of the Chronicles, “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” when she cracks open a wardrobe door and her life is changed forever. “What she finds there,” stated Thornton, “is a purpose, a calling, a mission.”
“You also have a calling,” Thornton told graduates, “an opportunity to take your Okefenokee Technical College education and make a difference.” Thornton encouraged graduates to view this milestone as confirmation of their raison d'être or “reason for being” and congratulated them for their accomplishment.
The ceremony began at 7 p.m. with the processional of graduates, followed by the invocation and presentation of colors. Dr. Faye Mathis, program director for respiratory care technology, gave the invocation, and the Ware County JROTC presented the colors. Christy Markette captivated the audience with her lovely rendition of the National Anthem.
Danita Cannon, vice president for student affairs, welcomed everyone to the ceremony and recognized special guests, family members of graduates, and OTC faculty and staff.
“Commencement provides an opportunity to recognize OTC’s outstanding faculty and staff-who are dedicated to providing the highest quality education and to making a positive difference in the lives of our students,” stated Cannon. She concluded by congratulating graduates for meeting their educational goal.
Following Cannon’s remarks, the audience enjoyed the talent of Ms. Markette again, as she sang “Whenever You Remember.”
Dr. Abraham Pallas, dean for academic affairs, allied health, and general education, introduced the keynote speaker, Mr. K.C. Thornton, who started his educational journey from a suggestion by his sister some twenty-one years ago in 1992. He taught and coached ten years at Ware County Middle School before becoming the fulltime English professor at what was then Okefenokee Technical Institute. Eleven years later and Thornton continues to serve as English professor and is now Faculty Senate Chair. He is currently beginning the dissertation phase of a doctorate in Adult and Career Education.
Following Thornton’s message, OTC President, Dr. Glenn Deibert, conferred upon graduates the applicable award of diploma and/or Associate of Applied Science degree. Then Dr. Deibert; Dr. Melanie Thornton, vice president for academic affairs; and Dr. Greg Jacobs, vice-chair of the OTC Board of Directors, congratulated and awarded diplomas and degrees to participating graduates.
The following students satisfactorily completed requirements for graduation spring semester 2013 and participated in the June 14, 2013, commencement:
Sherry Rebollo, Accounting and Stephen Tyler, AAS Accounting
Amanda Cox, Business Administrative Technology; Harlee McClellan, Early Childhood Care and Education; and Nelda Thomas, Business Administrative Technology
Rhonda King, AAS Accounting; Jessica Mikell, Radiologic Technology; Bryan Owens, Welding and Joining Technology; Chanell Smiley, Computer Support Specialist; and Trina Taylor, Business Administrative Technology
Simon Cason, AAS Networking Specialist; Kurt Hawkins, AAS Networking Specialist; and Lester McLeod, Welding and Joining Technology
Nancy Cruz, Early Childhood Care and Education; Thomas Dailey, Automotive Technology; Amanda Henderson, Radiologic Technology; Timothy Laguna, Welding and Joining Technology; Edgar Porter, Environmental Horticulture; David Ramsay, Air Conditioning Technology; Crandall Sires, Criminal Justice Technology; Sara Strickland, AAS Forest Technology; and Linda Thornton, Business Administrative Technology
Yellow cords denote honor graduates. Honor graduates are students who have a graduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.50 or higher. White stoles denote honor graduates with distinction. Honor graduates with distinction are graduates who have elected to join the National Technical Honor Society. To receive an invitation to join, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.75 and a work ethics grade of 2.0 or higher.
Danita Cannon presented honor pins to eligible graduates, signifying their outstanding accomplishment. Floral arrangements were provided by OTC’s environmental horticulture program instructor, Mark Deal. Neal Murphy served as Graduation Marshal.
Commencement keynote speaker K.C. Thornton (left), of Okefenokee Technical College was greeted by OTC President Dr. Glenn Deibert (center) and OTC Board Vice Chair Dr. Greg Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs is assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction with the Brantley County Board of Education.
Among those marching across the stage at the OTC 2013 spring commencement were the following Ware County graduates: Linda Thornton (L to R), Nancy Cruz, Amanda Henderson, David Ramsay, Thomas Dailey, Edgar Porter, Crandall Sires, Sara Strickland, Timothy Laguna.
Among those marching across the stage at the OTC 2013 spring commencement were the following Coffee County graduates: Rhonda King (L to R), Trina Taylor, Bryan Owens, Jessica Mikell, and Chanell Smiley.
Among those marching across the stage at the OTC 2013 spring commencement were the following Pierce County graduates: Lester McLeod (L to R), Kurt Hawkins, and Simon Cason.
Among those marching across the stage at the OTC 2013 spring commencement were the following Brantley County graduates: Sherry Rebollo (left) and Stephen Tyler.
Among those marching across the stage at the OTC 2013 spring commencement were the following Clinch County graduates: Nelda Thomas (L to R), Harlee McClellan, and Amanda Cox.