Step Up and Step Out: Community College of Philadelphia Holds its 51st Commencement
Lindsay Jackson, an Education: Early Childhood (Birth to 4th grade) major never imagined she would finish college. On May 6 at Community College of Philadelphia’s 51st commencement, Jackson was not only walking the aisle with her fellow 2017 graduates, she was the student speaker, and graduating with honors.
Jackson, a mother of seven children, took to the podium with her inspiring speech on how she was scared and unsure of her capabilities as a student after taking a 13-year hiatus from college. It was after her first semester that she excelled, discovering her capabilities and determined to be the best student academically. A Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society member and a Vice President for the chapter, Rho Upsilon, Jackson told the class, faculty and attendees, “Today is not only the day we celebrate our personal accomplishments; today we celebrate our struggles, our fears, and even our failures.”
“From the recent graduate to the recently laid off worker trying to find their way to a new career path; to the grandmother who decides it’s finally time for her to focus on her dreams of becoming a business owner; to the divorced, single mother of seven children who wants to show them an example of strength and perseverance, the possibilities are endless,” said Jackson.
In her tenure at the College, Jackson earned a Dean’s Award and several scholarships, including, one for $19,000 that will enable her to pursue her bachelor’s.
Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League served as the commencement speaker. He told graduates that in life, it’s many times like music. For a successful musician, to earn our respect and our appreciation, that successful musician must have something called rhythm. He reminded students that rhythm requires three parts of the anatomy – your eyes must be in rhythm with your head, and also connected to your heart. The eyes help us think about the future and when students leave the auditorium today, they have taken a step on a journey, but are not finished yet and should always keep their eyes on the ultimate prize.
Commencement highlights also included a graduating student body comprised of diverse ages and cultural backgrounds. Among the graduates included: 27 international students, representing 16 countries, 47 veterans, 8 employees of the College, 24 candidates for graduation from the Center for Male Engagement and the first graduates from the 50th Anniversary Scholars program. The 50th Anniversary Scholars program was established two years ago that enables Pell-eligible Philadelphia high school students the opportunity to go to the College for no cost of tuition or fees. Nineteen participants in the Keystone Education Yields Success (KEYS) program, an initiative to help those on public assistance pursue their postsecondary education also graduated. Nine of those KEYS participants were honors students, and four of them graduated from the highly competitive Nursing program.
Other academic notable scholars at graduation included:
- Jennifer Myers, a graduate from the College’s Diagnostic Medical Imagine program, who received the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship. The scholarship provides exceptional students from two-year colleges up to $40,000 per year to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Myers is the first African-American, second female and fourth recipient in seven years at the College to become a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar.
- Cedric Jouin, who completed his associate’s in Liberal Arts, was named to the 2017 All-Pennsylvania Scholar for 2017. Jouin, who came to the U.S. from France seven years ago, will pursue a career in environmental conservation, where he also plans to get both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.