Student achievement was the focus of the 2022 Commencement Ceremony at Snead State Community College on Thursday, May 12, in the Plunkett Wallace Gymnasium.
The ceremony began with approximately 185 out of 273 graduates walking in a processional into the gym as family, friends, guests, and Snead State faculty, staff and administrators looked on. After music performed by the Snead State Jazz Ensemble and the Commencement Choir and an invocation given by graduate and Student Government Association President Salma Santiago of Albertville, the ceremony’s focus turned to honoring the achievements of the graduates.
Destiny Wiley of Altoona received the Civitan Best All-Around Student Award. The Civitan Award is presented annually to the Best All-Around Student of the graduating class. To be eligible for this award, the student must have attended Snead State Community College for at least three semesters and attained a minimum cumulative academic average of 3.0 on a four-point scale. In addition, the student should have participated in extracurricular and community activities. The student is elected by a vote of the faculty from a list of eligible graduates who are participating in the graduation ceremonies.
Wiley was also awarded the James B. Allen Award. The award is presented annually to the Outstanding Student of the graduating class, but this year both students were chosen. This award is a gift of the late James B. Allen, United States Senator from Alabama. To be eligible for this award, the student must have exhibited outstanding qualities of leadership and service, attained a minimum cumulative academic average of 3.5, and attended Snead State Community College for at least three semesters. Recipients are elected by a vote of the faculty from a list of eligible graduates participating in the Spring ceremony. She is the first student to receive both awards.
Chase Williams of Sardis City and Stephen Dean of Cleveland were recognized as this year’s members of the All-Alabama Academic Team. The All-Alabama Scholarship program is a complement to the All-USA National Academic Team Program, which is sponsored by USA Today, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the American Association of Community Colleges.
The President’s Award is presented annually to the full-time sophomore student in both the Academic and Technical Divisions with the highest-grade point average on the greatest number of credit hours completed at Snead State. For the technical division, the 2022 President’s Award was presented to Christopher Adam Self of Boaz. For the academic division, the 2022 President’s Award is Salma Santiago of Albertville.
Snead State Community College President Dr. Joe Whitmore offered a few remarks, reminding the graduates of the questions they will face in life – from what job would they want, what college they would attend or what are the answers to the exam. The one question Dr. Whitmore spoke to was the one often asked young people – what do you want to be when you grow up?
“I think we’ve been asking the wrong question. Or we have been asking the right question in the wrong way. Instead of asking, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up’, I think the question should be, ‘what do you want to do when you grow up’. Do is an action verb that signifies…a process. It signifies an activity, and it signifies being engaged in what you are doing. It’s not that you want to be a teacher. It’s that you want to teach. You don’t just want to be a nurse. You want to nurse your patients and take care of them. You don’t just want to a coach. You want to have a team so that you can impart your wisdom and your knowledge. When you say ‘what do you want to be’, that’s a consciousness that defines your character. So no matter what you want to do when you grow up, there are certain things we should all strive to be.”
Dr. Whitmore continued, “Be humble. Being humble minimizes arrogance and reduces pride. Being humble will enable us to continue to be teachable throughout life. It allows us to acknowledge our sin and our shortcomings in our life and base it on the life that (Jesus) Christ modeled for us. True humility is remaining teachable no matter what you think you already know.
“So what do you think you want to be when you grow up? Be dependable. Being dependable is being constantly reliable and trustworthy. Do what you say you’re going to do and see it through. Continue in your commitments even if it means personal sacrifice. Be grateful. You didn’t get here by yourself. Gratitude is an attitude of being thankful, even when you don’t see all the things you have. It’s an aspect of worship, expressing to God what others have invested in your life. Never hesitate to say you’re thankful. What do you want to be when you grow up? Be honest. Honesty is the fastest way to keep a mistake from turning into a failure. Honesty and integrity are by far the most important traits and assets that you’re going to take into your chosen field. Be kind. Kindness begins in understanding that everyone is suffering at some point, and kindness doesn’t cost anything but means everything. Be happy. Hanging on to negative thoughts and feelings will do nothing but quickly drain what energy you have. You have to focus on the good that’s in your life and not let the pitfalls and failures steal your joy. You’re going to face storms, you’re going to face failures, you’re going to face grief. Find that happiness in your life.
“Find your passion and give it all you’ve got, but focus more on what you want to be when you grow up because it will define who you are,” Dr. Whitmore said.
Student recognitions continued when Snead State Executive Project Director of Workforce Enhancement Dr. Greg Randall recognized the first student in the Registered Apprenticeship Program to graduate.
The program was developed the program in 2019 for students pursuing an Industrial Systems Technology pathway to earn experience in a competitive field at a competitive wage while attending college. Kevin Franco of Boaz is the first graduate in the Registered Apprenticeship Program to graduate in the history of Snead State, and he earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Industrial Systems Technology. He served as an apprentice with AlaTrade Foods, one of the important industry partners that help to make the apprenticeship program possible. AlaTrade was the first industry partner to join the apprenticeship program.
SGA Vice President Erika Duarte of Oneonta gave a benediction before the graduates exited the gym in a recessional, ending this year’s Commencement Ceremony.
Members of the Lady Parsons Softball Team as well as members of the Parson Baseball Team were presented their diplomas on Tuesday, May 10, at a special Commencement ceremony held at Snead’s ball fields. The baseball and softball graduates were unable to attend the traditional Commencement ceremony because they were traveling to compete in the NJCAA District Tournaments.