STANTON — During a night of great anticipation, with 130 students eagerly awaiting to turn their tassel and claim their college degree in front of family and friends, Montcalm Community College (MCC) President Bob Ferrentino had one last message to deliver before declaring the hard working students as official graduates of MCC.
“We all know it took a lot of hard work for you to get to this point tonight,” Ferrentino said addressing the students and crowd gathered within the Central Montcalm High School gymnasium Friday night. “In many ways though, this is just the beginning for you. It’s the start of something even greater. By finishing what you’ve started, you’ve shown you are among the best and the brightest. Use the foundation you built at MCC and keep learning. Good luck, and God’s speed.”
On that note, the students turned their tassels, threw their caps into the air and celebrated as a new class walked away from MCC as official graduates of the college. Those at the ceremony were among 350 new MCC graduates.
For student commencement speaker Chelsey Petersen, it was a journey not traveled alone.
“Today our pride should be displayed on our sleeves … but first, let us take a moment to look around,” she said to her fellow graduates. “We must thank our professors, our family and our friends. Thank you for pushing us to strive for perfection … but most of all, thank you for showing us and allowing us to show our uniqueness so that we may dive head-first into the vast sea of education.”
But the lasting message of the night came from guest speaker Jacob Helms, superintendent at Central Montcalm Public Schools, who asked every student to rise to the next challenge they will face in their lives.
“The degree you’ve earned tonight, is just your first step,” Helms said. “My question to you tonight is, will you step up and use it to go to the next level? Will you make the most of yourself and follow your dreams? Whether you’re a 20-year-old graduate or a 50-year-old graduate, you’ve all obtained the first step in your dreams.”
Helms gave four examples of extreme conditions overcome by four individuals. By the end of his speech, those individuals were revealed to be former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
“I give you these examples to show you the obstacles you may have to overcome in your life,” he said. “They succeeded against all odds … the choices you make will be yours, and you alone will have to face the consequences of those choices. I hope when you are all my age and facing retirement you can look back at your life and your choices and say ‘I did the best that I could and am proud of the way I live my life.’”