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STLCC Graduates Ready for Next Chapter in Life’s Journey

May 26, 2010

2010 Graduation Speakers  
Campus presidents and the student speakers prepare to take the stage for STLCC's 2010 Commencement Exercises at Scottrade Center. They are, from left, George Wasson, Meramec president; student speakers Quynh Thoa Thai from Meramec and Christopher Pottorf from Florissant Valley; Marcia Pfeiffer, Florissant Valley president; Forest Park student speaker Patricia Desamero; Zerrie Campbell, Forest Park president; Pam McIntyre, Wildwood president; and Wildwood student speaker Nina Baumann, 

Nearly 7,000 family and friends helped celebrate the success of St. Louis Community College’s 2010 graduating class in commencement exercises conducted recently at the Scottrade Center.

More than 200 faculty and staff participated in the ceremony. Student speakers included Nina Baumann (Eureka, Mo.), who received an associate degree in teaching from Wildwood; Patricia Desamero
(St. Louis, Mo.), who received an associate degree in general transfer studies from Forest Park; Christopher Pottorf (Cape Girardeau, Mo.), who received an associate degree in electrical engineering technology from Florissant Valley; and Quynh Thoa Thai (St. Louis, Mo.), who received an associate degree in business administration from Meramec.

An active community volunteer, Baumann recently was honored by the Kwame Foundation as one of Missouri’s most accomplished young women. A dean’s list honoree at Wildwood, Baumann has been accepted into the Pierre Laclede Honors College and received a Chancellor’s Scholarship at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She plans to complete a master’s degree and then teach elementary school.

“I want to be recognized as a woman who worked extremely hard to achieve my dreams,” she told the audience. “My college truly made a difference in my life.”

Desamero served as president of the Student Government Association (SGA) and was the founding president of Tomorrow’s Law Pre-Law Club. She also served as co-captain of her quiz bowl team that placed second two straight years at the Hornsby Quiz Bowl; Forest Park was the only community college team in a field of historically black colleges and universities. Desamero plans to attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis and study political science.

The Pre-Law Club, Desamero said, changed her perspective about the college experience. “I want to thank my SGA family, who taught me that we can change the world, one issue at a time,” she said. “I plan to continue to be active, and fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.”

Pottorf, who was home-schooled in Cape Girardeau, was a member of the Florissant Valley Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter. He plans to find employment in his field following graduation, but eventually will continue his education at a four-year institution.

Pottorf’s message to his fellow graduates was to keep their future in good hands – their own hands – and also included a quotation from Dr. Seuss. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go,” he said.

Thai came to the United States from Danang, Vietnam, as a high school exchange student. Thai, who married in 2005, was an honors scholar at Meramec and served as the vice president of membership for the campus Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter. She has been accepted into the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and will pursue a bachelor’s degree in international business.

“Our stories are very similar. We have three reasons for being here today,” she said. “First, we overcame obstacles and barriers. Second, St. Louis Community College has provided strong academic programs, and strong faculty and staff. And third, we all have practical experience to become more effective leaders. Turn to your family and friends and say ‘thank you,’ and then turn to your fellow graduates and say ‘congratulations.’”

2010 Commencement Ceremonies Slide Show