BRTC commencement exercises were held this past Thursday evening in the Randolph County Development Center to recognize a record number of 287 December graduates, according to Dr. Michael Sullens, VP for Student Services. The total for December 2011 was 273 graduates. The actual number of degrees awarded for the Fall 2012 semester totals 342, as some of the students completed more than one certification. Separate commencement ceremonies for graduates in Nursing, Respiratory Care, and Law Enforcement were held previously. In addition to the 287 graduating in December, an additional 74 individuals received the GED (General Education Diploma).
Degrees were conferred by BRTC President Dr. Wayne Hatcher and awarded by Dr. Roger Johnson, VP for General Education, and Angie Caldwell, VP for Technical Education. The degrees awarded included two-year Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science degrees, as well as one-year Certificates, one-semester Certificates of Proficiency, and GEDs.
Christina Derbes, candidate for the Dietary Manager Certificate, served as Graduate Candidate Spokesperson. She spoke of the hardships and sacrifices of the students that are so often necessary to achieve a better life for themselves and their families, and urged them always to be professional in all they endeavor.
BRTC Alumna Lawana Watson served as keynote speaker for the ceremony, telling students “You can do anything you want to do. You can be anything you want to be.”
A single mother, Watson earned her AA degree from BRTC in 2008 and then went on to earn her BA degree in Middle Level Education at WBC. While at BRTC, she served as Chapter President for Phi Theta Kappa, and also was Regional Vice President for the honor society. At WBC, she was Vice President and President of the Williams Educational Organization.
Watson received the Mary Sallee Single Parent Scholarship and was a student spokesperson at BRTC’s annual scholarship luncheon. She currently is a 2nd Grade Self-Contained Special Education Teacher at Alma Spikes Elementary School, and is pursuing her master’s degree at Arkansas State University.