Surry Community College held their 2011 spring graduation at Peace Haven Baptist Church in Yadkinville on Thursday night with 156 of the 424 graduates participating in the ceremony.
SCC’s newly named president, Dr. James Reeves, gave the opening remarks for the ceremony saying that “this is a joyous time for the students, their families and SCC.
“You are now moving from a learning environment to the real world and we wish you a great success,” he said.
U. S. House of Representatives Sarah Stevens, a native of Mount Airy, gave the commencement speech, talking to the students about the decisions they needed to make about their future and the implications those decisions would have on their lives.
Stevens spoke to the students about the choices she had made in her life surrounding her career and how after working in the field she had chosen, making the decision to return to school after a few years to work toward a law degree.
“I felt like the law would be a better choice for me, so after spending two years as a patient advocate after my undergraduate degree in social work, I applied to Campbell and Wake Forest. I visited both campuses after being accepted and decided Campbell would be a better fit for me. After earning my degree and passing the bar exam, I returned to Mount Airy to practice law and have been for the past 25 years.
“I never intended to go into politics, but after helping to search for a qualified candidate from our area to represent us in the House of Representatives, it was suggested to me to run,” she said. “I was elected and am proud to serve the citizens of our area.”
Stevens continued to speak to the graduates about their future.
“You are here at the end of you college term at the base of the remainder of your life,” she said. “I encourage you to step out. There are three basic things I think you should know, 1. All you need to know in the real world, you learned in kindergarten. You learned how to share, how to play fair, how to clean up after yourself, wash your hands, flush, you learned how to think, draw, sing and dance and work. When you go out into traffic, hold hands and stick together.
“The second is from a children’s story “The Little Engine That Could,” Stevens said. “I think I can… remember this from this day forward, because you can. And thirdly, remember the question “WHY.” Why do we do things the way we do them, is there a better way? Could that machine work better more efficiently with a new design? Is there something I could create to make a task easier? Just think, the person who created sticky note pads is a millionaire because they thought of a way to make something work better and it worked for everybody. Always ask why, and always think outside of the box.”
Stevens then read from a newspaper column that had made an impact on her from years before that talked about always wearing sunscreen. She told the graduates that a line from the column spoke about enjoying the power and heart of youth, but to know that 20 years from now, you’ll look back and see what was. She told the graduates that another line would also serve them well, to get to know their parents because they would miss them when they were gone and when the author of the column suggested to be kind to siblings, she agreed, because they are family and can be of great help throughout their lives.
Stevens wished the graduates much success and told them they were off to a great start.
The SCC chorus sang and the Five ‘til Five Brass Quintet played the prelude, processional, recessional and postlude for the SCC graduates of 2011.
Student Sharon B. Walker was recognized for being selected as the North Carolina Community College System Academic Excellence Award Recipient and being the recipient of the Dallas Herring Achievement Award Nominee.
Peace Haven Baptist hosted the graduation ceremonies and sponsors of the graduation in forms of programs, centerpieces and parking assistance was provided by Great American Printing; Lillie’s Creative Accents; Surry Community College Police Department and SCC Maintenance Department staff.