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BCCC Class of 2019 graduates with an increase in honor students

Beaufort County Community College held its commencement exercise for its graduating students on May 10. The Class of 2019 saw 267 students graduating, with a higher proportion of honor students among the graduates. The 52nd commencement exercise included 74 high school students enrolled through early college high school and Career and College Promise programs.

BCCC welcomed Keith Kidwell as its commencement speaker. Kidwell was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives for the 79th District in November 2018, representing Beaufort and Craven counties. Originally from Passaic, N.J., he studied business management at William Paterson College in New Jersey while working full-time. His career has given him management experience in warehousing, domestic and international distribution, facilities, fleet, purchasing, budgeting, finance, taxes and sales. Kidwell has been a small business owner in Washington, N.C. for nearly 30 years, where he owns and manages the local H&R Block and Kidwell Enterprises, Inc. He has taught seminars on business taxes through the Small Business Center at BCCC.

Kidwell told the audience that they should take any doubt by others in their ability as a challenge to prove them wrong. He talked about numerous occasions in his life where he exceeded expectations that others had set for him.

Among the graduates were 77 honor students with gold tassels who earned a GPA of at least 3.5 or higher, exceeding the number of honor students in comparison to 2018 by 21. The proportion of honors graduates also increased by 26 percent, with 29 percent of graduates earning honors versus only 23 percent in 2018. Nine graduated Summa Cum Laude, having earned a 4.0, including Gabriela Adame-Gachuz, Tabitha Gardner, Kaylee Gaskins, Eric Martinez, Nicole Obando, Stephanie Ponce, Lisa Robinett, David Rowe, and Erica Sandoval. Forty-five Gamma Beta Phi honor society students wore gold sashes, BCCC ambassadors wore blue sashes and TRiO participants wore red cords. The Associate Degree Nursing program saw 37 graduate.

Dr. Jay Sullivan, vice president of academic affairs, announced the Faculty Member of the Year, Crystal Watts, lead professor for criminal justice, and the Staff Member of the Year, Dorothy Jordan, director of TRiO/Student Support Services. He also announced the Dallas Herring Achievement Award recipient, David Plasencia, the Academic Achievement Award recipient, Nicole Obando, and the Robert W. Scott Leadership Award recipient, Darian Stoica. Leah Beth Warren received the All-USA Phi Theta Kappa Award, a national recognition.

Two BCCC employees, Ben Cole and Darian Stoica were among those receiving their associate degrees. Cole is lead professor for electrical engineering technology and added an Associate in Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology to his existing degrees. Stoica is the assistant to admissions and added an Associate in Applied Science in Office Administration to her existing degrees.

BCCC wishes all the best to the departing students and hopes that they return to share their success stories with their former instructors.