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Commencement Marks a New Beginning
May 23, 2011
Approximately 6,000 family and friends helped celebrate the success of St. Louis Community College’s 2011 graduating class in commencement exercises conducted recently at the Scottrade Center.
More than 175 faculty and staff participated in the ceremony. Student speakers included Lauren Baker (Frontenac, Mo.), who received an associate degree in general transfer studies from Meramec; Joshua Golden (St. Louis, Mo.), who received an associate degree in general transfer studies from Florissant Valley; Jackie Stevens (Pacific, Mo.), who received an associate degree in general transfer studies from Wildwood and Margaret Grant (Chesterfield, Mo.), who received an associate degree in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts from Forest Park. All four commencement speakers were members of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year institutions.
Baker, who volunteers regularly with youth in the foster system, plans to attend Saint Louis University to study speech and language pathology. Her long-term goals include specializing in early intervention therapies for children who have autism.
“The passion for standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves would not have been cultivated without the self-confidence and focus I gained at St. Louis Community College,” she shared in her commencement address. “My decision to enroll at the college has been one of the best decisions of my life. I am proud to be a part of this complex, diverse, hope-filled group of graduates.”
Golden worked as a writer for the campus newspaper, the Forum, and as a peer tutor in the campus science and math center. While balancing school and three part-time jobs, he stayed actively involved in campus activities and served as the regional vice president for Phi Theta Kappa. In addition, Golden volunteers at the YMCA, where he works to develop and facilitate a teen club for inner city youth. He plans to attend Washington University and study political science and psychology.
“As I look over our student body today, I see not just bright faces in suits and gowns, but I see answers to the world's future problems,” he said to the audience. “I see minds equipped to lead. I see passions burning inside that once unleashed, will do for the future generation what the previous generation did for us, and that is make life phenomenal.”
A dean’s list honoree at Wildwood, Stevens participated in the STLCC Study Abroad program last fall, taking classes at Canterbury Christ Church University in Canterbury, England. She plans to attend Maryville University and major in rehabilitation services. She has been awarded the Barat Transfer Scholarship and the Phi Theta Kappa Award by Maryville University. Her long-term goal is to earn a master’s degree and become a rehabilitation counselor.
“Each of us made the choice to get a better education and to become leaders in society,” she said. “I am very thankful to the faculty and staff for giving me the skills and knowledge that made today possible.”
Grant, who graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average, is a member of the St. Louis chapter of Chefs de Cuisine and the American Culinary Federation. She works for a local catering company, also teaches gluten-free baking classes through STLCC’s continuing education program, and aims to market her gluten-free bread recipe. Grant hopes to earn both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, so that she can teach one day.
What is her recipe for success?
“Perseverance, skills and organization are very important components of success. Education is truly a gift that no one can take away from you. A gift that will live today, tomorrow and into your future,” she said. “Cherish your education!”