Trinidad State News

Trinidad State Commencement ceremony recognizes 290 graduates

Trinidad Campus / May 8, 2015


Trinidad State Junior College recognized 290 degree and certificate graduates of the Trinidad Campus at its annual Spring Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 8. Of those graduates, 131 wore caps and gowns and participated in the ceremony.

Held at 10 a.m. in the “Pit”, a grassy amphitheater on the Trinidad State Campus, Career and Technical Honor Student Stella Garcia-Sanchez and Arts and Sciences Honor Graduate Kaitlyn Mantelli addressed the graduating classes, and Trinidad State President Dr. Carmen Simone shared student achievements with the audience.

Garcia-Sanchez, graduating with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Child Education and an Associate of General Studies degree, worked at several different jobs before discovering her passion – teaching young children. A wife, mother and active member of the La Veta and Walsenburg communities, Garcia-Sanchez said to fellow graduates, “All those days of driving through wind, sun and rain were sometimes trying, but were the sunsets and rainbows not positive contributors to your day to continue your education?” She continued, “Today is our rainbow.”

Mantelli, the student speaker representing Arts and Sciences, spoke about change. “Change is a word that is a huge part of our everyday lives,” she said, “It can happen to you, around you, or you yourself can make it happen.” Mantelli continued, “I changed my mind about what I wanted to do in the future. My dreams went from wanting to be a teacher, to wanting to be a medical technician, to wanting to be a doctor.” Mantelli graduated with three degrees: Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, and Associate of General Studies. She plans to continue her education at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs and eventually become a radiologist. Mantelli closed with a quote from Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

Trinidad State President Dr. Simone shared stories about some of the graduating students in attendance. When Carrie Reed first came to the college, her and her family were homeless. She enrolled in the GED program, earned her diploma, and then enrolled in the Heavy Equipment program. Carrie and her husband, Chip, graduated from Trinidad State on Friday. Edgar Santos, lives in Dodge City, Kansas, and earned his credential in Occupational Safety and Health completely online. Santos is the first in his family to earn a college degree. Joachim and Joshua Hoffpauir, brothers, took college classes while in high school and each earned an Associate degree while also completing their high school credits for graduation.

Students with 4.0 GPAs wore gold cords, those with 3.75-3.99 GPAs wore silver cords and those with 3.5-3.749 wore bronze cords. Also honored were Phi Theta Kappa graduates and graduating students in Who’s Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges.

“We are proud of each and every one of our graduates,” said Simone. “These students have worked hard and they deserve recognition.”
During the graduation ceremony, Simone recognized alumni class representatives. Those honored included Emily Schoembs Bocko, Class of 1945; Clayton Nelson, Class of 1955; Jim Vigil, Class of 1965; Eli DeBono, Class of 1975; Frank Joseph Molinaro, Jr., Class of 1985; Tanya Tortorice Fischer, Class of 1995; and Tiffany Oselio Medford, Class of 2005.

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