Hocking College welcomed approximately 900 graduates to the ranks of alumni at three ceremonies on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Hocking College Student Center Multiplex.
Albert L. Sims, a Class of 2013 graduate, served as the honorable commencement speaker at all three ceremonies. Sims discussed his journey from gang member on the streets of Fresno, California, to 22 years spent in the California penal system, to his graduation with honors at Hocking College with an Associate’s in Addiction Counseling.
“As a guest of the penal system, I was provided a five by nine cell where my mind was filled with so many thoughts. Above all, I questioned if I would ever have a life worth living,” Sims recounted.
He overcame his own addiction and personal adversity to graduate from Hocking College as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
“At Hocking College, I have learned to treat my life and the lives of others with the respect, gratitude and thoughtfulness that come from opportunity and education,” Sims commented. He concluded by stating, “My story is not one of glory or of honor, but one of hope and encouragement to every last one of you here. I challenge each one of you…if I can be here today in spite of all the obstacles, setbacks and my ill decisions in life, then where can you be tomorrow?”
Student award recipients included Carri Woodgerd, Erika Byrd and Lydia Baird for Excellence in Student Employment; Aaron Moore, Bryee Wernicke, and Albert Sims for the Student Life Award; and Richard Baysa, Marquan Hairston and Maria Silva for the “We are One-Hocking” Award. The Richard Elston Leadership Award was presented to Kristen Herbst, Marie Swartz and Khader Alshaar. Finally, Warren Usher, Teresa Marks and Ryan Swigart were presented with the Trustee’s Award, the highest honor offered at Hocking College.
Students in the School of Health and Nursing graduated at the 10 a.m. ceremony; the School of Natural Resources and School of Public Safety Services at the 2 p.m. ceremony. The 6 p.m. ceremony graduated students from the McClenaghan Center for Hospitality Training; School of Arts, Business and Information Technology; and the School of Engineering Technologies.