A record-breaking 279 students graduated from Richmond Community College this spring. For the 242 who attended graduation ceremonies Saturday at the Cole Auditorium, it was an opportunity to celebrate reaching a goal and a time to savor marching across the stage to receive a degree or diploma.
Richmond County native Saundra Williams, Senior Vice President and Chief of Technology and Workforce Development for the N.C. Community College System, was the commencement speaker. A graduate of Richmond Senior High School, she earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from N.C. State University. She is the daughter of Leon and Pauline Wall of Rockingham.
She told graduates there are two important things to remember in life: people and pathways. She said her father gave her excellent advice when he moved her into a college dorm as a freshman. He told her he had taken her as far as he could, that the people she associated with and the path she would take were her decisions.
“Surround yourself with people who will take you beyond your comfort zone. Be with people who will encourage you to move forward with any goal you set. You have completed the goal of graduation. Faculty took you beyond your comfort zone. You can be sure your life is richer because you stretched yourself,” she said.
She encouraged students to commit to become lifelong learners and to help others so they could follow their pathway and, one day, sit in the same seats as graduates.
Following her speech, RCC President Dale McInnis presented Williams an Honorary Associate in Arts degree, the highest honor the college can bestow.
Student Government Association President Lisa Coats of Rockingham spoke on behalf of the students. She asked students to remember their first day of class and to remember all of the big textbooks they felt unsure about opening.
“But we stuck it out and overcame obstacles and fears to be here for graduation. Take stock in the abilities RCC has instilled in you. Be ready to take your place in the world. This has all been a test of your character. As you say goodbye, remember, you will always be a part of RCC’s legacy,” she said.
Vice President for Student Services Saundra Richardson presented the graduation awards. The Dr. Robert D. Street Academic Excellence in Business Studies Award went to Lisa Diane Coats, a Healthcare Management Technology major from Rockingham. The Joseph D. Beam Excellence in Engineering Award went to Casey Allan Walters, an Electronics Engineering Technology major from Rockingham. The Richmond County Historical Society Excellence in History Award went to Robert Daniels Wilkes, an Associate in Arts major from Hamlet. The Dodd-Moore Humanities Award went to Dakota Marie Braddock, an Associate in Arts major from Hamlet. The Excellence in Science Award went to Ashleigh Rickilynn Barbee, an Associate in Science major from Laurinburg.
Richmond County graduates are: Carlton Tyler Gainey, Cami LeeAnn Holden, and Randy Lee Wise of Cordova; Diane Elizabeth Hayden, Billie Jo Hill, Ahsley Smith Hogan, Brittany Dawn Leonard, Deborah Ann McDonald , Camillia Julois Nunn, Shadrion Dominique’ Person, Juana Melissa Silva, Jillian Rose Terry, and Brittany Hall Wagoner of Ellerbe; Sekoya Domondique Anderson, Angelia Amalia Arguijo, Autumn Christine Bell, Brenda Lee Bivens, Dakota Marie Braddock, Kimberly Ann Brown, Jeremy Alan Butler, Helen Stephanie Castillo, Jordyn Lynn Chance, Cameron Brooke Collins, Shanedra Breannen Covington, Shonda Shanise Crump, Jamilah LaShaundra Dawkins, Sean William DeBevoise, Jessica Leigh Degeis, Alicia Danielle Dunn, Rebecca Michelle Dunn, Linda Forbis, Chelsi Bea Frazer, Lisa Smith Gainey, Carole Monteenia Griffin, L.C. Harris, Jr, Linda Sue Hollon, Christopher John-Paul Holt, Bonnie Leviner Hunt, Frances Annette Jacobs, Tara Danielle Johnson, Aaron Scott Lewis, Sandra Gail Lewis, Crystal Stewart Long, Ronnie Wayne Long, Deidra Shantwanette Lowery, Airris Lyles, Douglas Edward McDonald, Jr, Orrick McDougald, Eric Tyler McMillan, Neishia Conelius McNair, Tarah Lashawna McNair, Carrie Ann Mercer, Deidra Fiona Monroe, Alvin Randolph Moore, III, Cale Joshua Nettles, O’Neil Patrick, Jr, Marquitta Renada Patterson, Ashleigh Elizabeth Pearce, Melanie Croxton Potoka, Mae Joyce Quick, Stacey Danielle Sparks, Amanda Huggins Steen, Todd Immanuel Stubbs, Cynthia DeBerry Sweet, Sarah Sewell Talton, Linda Joyce Teal, Jerry Lee Thomas, Jr, Holly Butler Voorhees, Kaylin Ruth Waters, Jessica Danielle Watson, Robert Daniel Wilkes, Tiffany Rashea Wilson, and Ella Marie Wooten of Hamlet; Janet Lynn Butler and Marcus Lee Campbell of Hoffman; Gladys B Blackmon and Lois Ann Stroman of Marston; Brittani Leigh Allen, John Brandon Arnette, Lisa Dawn Austin, Danielle Baldwin, Donald Lynn Braddock, Tabatha Kaye Braden, Nankeen Shelley Burch, James Hunter Burns, Shannon Nicole Carriker, Jessica Carter Chappell, Vickie Lynn Clayton, Lisa Diane Coats, Sharon Metropol Coleman, Tony Brandon Conner, Beverly Cartessa Covington, Michael Dujuan Covington, Timothy Gerald Covington, Zuri Arlando Covington, Mark Andrew Covington, Jr, Samuel Lawrence Crouch III, Rebecca Leanne Currie, Shanieka Antoinette Davis, Sheryl Sellers Davis, Stephanie Lynne Deese, Andra Marie Douglas, Adrian Uland Dumas, Brittany Grace Durden, Marion Tavares Ellerbe, Chasity Starling Evans, Justin Duryce Evans, Brianda Denise Beverly Everett, Sarah Smith Everett, Laura Grant Forbis, Russell Jordan Frye, Catherine Lynn Gardner, Tenasha Brown Goins, Vandella Grant, Kelsey Nicole Greene, Tina Ellerbe Griffin, Joseph Allan Grooms, Jr, Charniqua Lashae’ Hamilton, Barbara Gibson Henson, Paige Elise Hudson, Antoine Darell Ingram, Sherrie Love Jenks, Arthur Lee Johnson, Kristen Deanna Johnson, Michael Cody Jopson, Heather Elizabeth Jordan, Sheena Corrina Knight, Chini Symone Littles, Lisa Ingram McDonald, Darrell Keith McIver, Nandia N McMillan, Ahsley Nicole Miller, Misty Dawn Morgan, Mara Munoz Diaz, Natasha Ann Newberry, Jamie Lee Odom, Richard Alan O’Neal, Mason Arthur Parody, Angelina Dawn Pearson, Krista Webb Phifer, MaryAnn McDuffie Prevatte, Timothy Dale Price, Melissa Chanel Rainwater, Jorge Martin Reyes, Amanda Kay Reynolds, William Forrest Robinson, Cody James Rollings, Kimberly Dawn Russell, Vonda Kay Scott, Maurice Taimel Singley, Michael Wayne Smith, Ruth Ratliff Smith, Taylor Christian Smith, Zachary Ryan Stanford, Mary Katherine Tatum, Monica Nicole Terry, Sierra Alyssa Vandermark, Matthew Thomas Vincett, Tomeka Latreece Wall, Casey Allan Walters, Aaron Blake Wiggins, Adrian Christopher Williams, and Lee Yang of Rockingham.