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LaTeah Rodgers chosen as distinguished graduate

May 17, 2019

On May 10, a capacity audience cheered on more than 120 graduates as they crossed the stage to receive 180 degrees, diplomas, and certificates during Martin Community College's (MCC) 51st graduation ceremony in the Riverside High School auditorium in Williamston, NC.

After the students processed into the auditorium, Dr. Gary L. Cordon, Sr., Pastor of Victory Temple Church of God in Christ, in Windsor, NC gave the invocation. He was immediately followed by Melvette Armond, a graduate of the Early Childhood Education program, singing of the National Anthem.

Daniel Price, MCC's Department Chair for College Transfer and Instructor of Mathematics , gave the commencement speech. While at MCC, Price has worked on several grants which have given him extensive knowledge of mathematics education, curriculum building, and pedagogy, as well as students' first year college experience, developmental education, pathways, and loss/ momentum points in a student's college experience. He has spoken at several local and national conferences, including Achieving the Dream and Completion by Design. Price, enthusiastically crisscrossed the stage throughout his comments, encouraging the students to believe in themselves and to build on their accomplishments.

Dr. Deryl Fulmer, MCC's Dean of Academics Affairs then joined the Division Chairs in presenting the program awards and recognized the Distinguished Graduate for the 2018-19 Academic Year. To be eligible to receive a Program Award, a student must be a candidate for graduation, have a minimum overall GPA of 3.00, possess outstanding qualities in cooperation and initiative, and be nominated by a full-time faculty member (advisor). The "Program Award" denotes a student's excellence in a particular MCC program.

The graduates receiving Program Awards were as follows: Seung Jun Lee for Associate in Arts, Stephanie Lynn Powell for Associate in General Education, Erica Trejo for Associate in Science, Tyler Daniel Hopkins for Business Administration, William Owen Hayes for Commercial Refrigeration Technology, Jasmine Howard for Cosmetology, Jennifer Mondragon for Early Childhood Education, Justin Toole for Electrical Systems Technology, Taylor Nicole Cavezza for Equine Business Technology, Megan Caroline Johnson for Equine Training Technology, D'Jara Outerbridge Browning for General Occupational Technology, Markus Stancil for Industrial Systems Technology, Melissa Maranda Thompson for Medical Assisting, Nichole Williams for Medical Office Administration, Cecille Annette Hyman for Office Administration, and Dustin Mann for Physical Therapist Assistant.

The Academic Excellence Award was then presented to Jason Phelps. Phelps an Electrical Systems Technology student, is a student ambassador and a member of Alpha Beta Gamma Honor Society.

MCC's 2019 Distinguished Graduate award, which is based on scholarship, civic engagement, and demeanor, was presented to LaTeah Rodgers. Rodgers was nominated by her Cosmetology Instructor, Curtis Hyler. Hyler stated, "This student has experienced many challenges in her life. She has proven by example that you can reach your goals by not giving up on yourself. Despite suffering a stroke in 2011 that left her unable to walk or communicate for several months, with God's help, she fought her way back, and in 2017 enrolled in MCC's Cosmetology program."

Hyler continues, "LaTeah never hesitates to help her classmates or clients. She always has a positive comment to share and often says, 'Things are going to get better.' She is very deserving of this recognition."

Rodgers was then invited to be seated on the stage and participate in the remainder of the Graduation Ceremony.

MCC's Acting President, Dr. Brian Busch, and Vice Chairman of MCC's Board of Trustees, Rick Cowan, then joined Fulmer to confer 121 credentials to graduates participating in the ceremony. More than 200 degrees, diplomas and certificates were awarded during the 2018-19 Academic Year.