Commencement Marks First Graduation for Butte College President
Career Program Graduations Planned Thursday/Friday
The 43rd Butte College Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 25 on the football field of the John Cowan Sports Complex on the main campus, 3536 Butte Campus Drive at 7:30 p.m.
The College will confer 1,186 degrees with 664 Associate of Arts degrees and 522 Associate of Sciences degrees in a ceremony presided over by Butte College President Dr. Kimberly Perry, which marks her first graduation as the president of the college. She will be joined by the Butte College Board of Trustees, along with hundreds of faculty and staff. Thousands will mark the occasion at the main campus.
Kara Bishop is Butte College's 2012 commencement speaker and compares climbing and descending the many different stairways on the college campus to the metaphorical stairs students must climb to reach their goals.
"Earning my degree was like climbing a flight of stairs to something greater, but I had to go up those stairs to get there, just like I had to go up and down the stairs on campus to get to my classes," said Bishop, 22.
Graduating with an Associate's Degree in Social Behavioral Science was a long climb for Bishop who began her studies in 2008. A transplant from Lancaster, CA, Bishop was home-schooled and made her move to Oroville to be with her grandmother.
She enrolled in the Spring of 2008 and attended one semester before taking a year's leave of absence to work as a counselor at The Axiom, a teen youth center in Oroville. She returned to Butte College in Spring of 2010 and took two part-time jobs, one at the Church of the Nazarene, and the other at Oroville's Home Depot.
It was at Home Depot that Bishop met Nathan Bishop, a business administration major at Chico State, who was to become her husband. With two part-time jobs and an impending marriage, Bishop once again took a leave of absence from college in the Fall of 2010 returning to finish her degree in the Fall of 2011.
Bishop said that whether she was "crawling or racing up the stairway" toward her goal of earning a degree the Butte College community supported her through the availability of "great resources" such as the tutors in the Center for Academic Success and the instructor who "had faith" in her.
Singing the National Anthem will be Corinne Lawrence, Class of 2012. Among the graduating students Friday– the oldestof whom is 65 and the youngest of whom is 18--are those graduates from different states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. There are also graduates from different countries including Brazil, England, India, Japan, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and South Korea.
"We are so thrilled for our graduates who are completing this remarkable journey to wherever it takes them," said Butte College President, Dr. Kimberly Perry. "This year we have so many graduates who have strived for excellence, overcome obstacles, and above all, serve as role models in our communities. Our graduates are leading by example and showing others that with perseverance and dedication-- you can achieve great things."
The top 10 associate's degrees being awarded for graduates this year include: Social and Behavioral Science, Registered Nursing, University Studies, Fire Technology, Business Administration, Language Arts, Respiratory Care, Accounting, Nutrition, and Child Development.
The following is a list of Butte College Career Program graduation ceremonies also taking place:
An informal reception will follow the commencement ceremony in the gymnasium quad. The event is wheelchair accessible. Any graduate or guest requiring a specific accommodation or adjustment, including interpreting services or an assistive listening device should contact Annette Guffy, in the Vice President for Student Services Office at 530-895-2239 [voice] or 530-879-6118 [TTD].
See below for some graduate profiles:
First to Earn a Degree, First Generation Mexican-American Set to Graduate
Set to graduate this Friday, Griselda Paredes is a first generation Mexican-American and the first in her family to earn a college degree.
"From the beginning my dad always said 'first there's elementary school, then there's middle school, then high school and then, college,'" so I knew no matter what, I was going to college," said Paredes, the oldest of four children.
But getting to college was not an easy path for Paredes who attended Live Oak High School.
"People ridiculed me, called me 'air head' and 'stupid." So I never really tried hard in class and did really bad because I just really thought I was dumb," she said.
Not wanting to disappoint her father and knowing she didn't have the grades to get into a four-year college, Paredes said she "picked the best community college."
Her first year at Butte College was as rugged as her four years of high school. She floundered in classes and could not focus on what she really wanted to do. Then she enrolled in her first sociology class and said "a whole new world opened up" to her.
"I was lost until I took that class. It was the first time I ever got the material and was interested. Sociology was amazing. It really motivated me to do better in all my classes," said Paredes.
Her transformation as a student, with better grades as well as her successful completion of her associate's degree has made her parents "very proud."
"They always believed in me, but I feel like I fulfilled and exceeded their expectations," she said.
Inspired by her success at Butte, Paredes applied and was accepted to Chico State where she will begin the next leg of her education journey as a sociology major in the fall.
"Butte College gave me the foundation to succeed. Because of my experience, I feel I can succeed in other places. It was a stepping stone and helped to decide my future career goals," said Paredes. "I want to be an academic counselor for students like me. I want to be the person who wasn't there for me when I needed someone. That will be really amazing."
Mother and Daughter Graduate Together
As mother and daughter, Lavonne and Shannon Fogel have shared many experiences but graduating from Butte College together is one of their most memorable.
Lavonne will earn her degree in Child Development and Social and Behavioral Sciences 40 years after she graduated from high school.
Her daughter Shannon is set to earn her degree as a registered nurse six years after she received her high school diploma from Paradise High School.
"This is just so exciting. I am just so proud – of both of us!" said Lavonne Fogel.
Although Shannon graduated from the nursing program during the "pinning ceremony" in December; went on to pass her state nursing license examination; and now works as an operating room nurse at Enloe Hospital, she will walk with her mom during Butte's commencement ceremony on May 25.
"It's not easy to get into the nursing program but she persevered," she said.
Lavonne, a child care professional for 25 years, said that earning her degree at Butte College made her feel as if she "really accomplished something and that she couldn't have asked for a better experience."
"I loved it! I really wanted to be there and I wanted to learn. Going to school kept my mind sharp. I loved being with the younger students and the teachers were awesome. They are so encouraging and helpful. They really care and that makes all the difference," said Lavonne.
Nursing Student Ready for Chico State
Janelle Snead made the most out of her time at Butte College.
A pre-nursing 2012 graduate, Snead enrolled in Butte in 2008 following her graduation from Paradise High School.
In addition to being a full-time student, Snead was also an active member of the Associated Students (AS) and has been a participant in the college's summer student leadership program for three consecutive years.
"Everything I did at Butte College shaped me into the person I am today," she said.
During her first year as an AS member, Snead served on the Academic Senate and in her second year, she served as the AS student trustee to the college's Board of Trustees.
"It was an amazing experience and I loved it. It really enriched my public speaking and reporting skills and I got to know most of the college deans, the president and the trustees. Interacting with them in a professional capacity was terrific job experience," she said.
Snead also worked as many as three part-time jobs at once while she was a student. One of those jobs was on campus as an Orientation Leader and later as the Orientation Program Assistant in the Welcome Center. Her on-campus work plus her participation in the summer leadership program were key in "building me as a person,' she said.
"Butte was an outrageously positive experience. It shaped me into the person I am today. I am a fairly motivated person but I had a lot of success there because of the people who work there. Without them and what was available to me through Butte College, I probably wouldn't be where I am today," said Snead.
Snead, 21, will be transferring to Chico State in the fall where she plans to continue her nursing studies to become a registered nurse specializing in trauma care.
College Connection Student Earns Scholarship Valued at $52,000 Annually
Max Cordiero, Oroville High School Class of 2012 and Butte College Connection graduate, credits the College Connection program for his success in receiving a nearly full-ride scholarship to Vassar College in New York, valued at $52,000 a year for up to four years.
Cordiero applied for the high school College Connection because he felt the program would provide him with a "more robust educational experience" during his senior year than high school classes would have provided. And, he said he wasn't disappointed.
"I cannot stress enough how great the College Connection program and Butte College were for a student like me," said Cordiero.
Cordiero applied to both Vassar and Yale University. He was wait-listed for Yale and accepted into Vassar where he was offered an annual $52,000 scholarship and plans to pursue a degree in political science. He said he will re-apply to Yale for graduate school. In addition to the scholarship from Vassar, Cordiero was also awarded a $32,000 scholarship at $8,000 a year for four years from the Northern California Scholarship Foundation.
"It was insanely impressive on the college applications to show that I had been attending college courses and earning a 4.0 plus to have a recommendation from a college professor. I think it spoke to my perseverance and determination," said Cordiero, 18.
Cordiero attended Butte College full-time during his senior year taking courses such as public speaking, comparative politics, Eastern religion, and statistics among others. He said he took "full advantage" of all the college offered including the library as well as the Learning Resource Center where he spent a lot of time studying, using the computers and attending workshops.
Cordiero will receive his high school diploma on June 6 at the Oroville High School commencement ceremony.
Student Hits High Marks
Michelle Lorraine Marks said she had "nothing but great experiences" as a Butte College student.
A transplant from Southern California, Marks will earn her degree at Butte College in Behavioral and Social Science and University Studies. Marks maintained a 4.0 GPA while in the honors program and actively involved as a member of Phi Theta Kappa—the international honor society for two year colleges.
"The level of intellectualism in the honors classes was stimulating. The honors program was the best thing I've ever done for myself," said Marks, 20.
Marks chose to attend Butte College because she wanted to experience life and school outside of Southern California and she has a family connection with the college and community.
"Both my grandfather, Barry Nolind, and my Uncle John Nolind taught at Butte College in the automotive program. My grandmother still lives in Oroville and so do my uncles and their families. I figured it was a good place to be," she said.
Marks credits the college's "fabulous instructors" with her positive experience at Butte and says she feels prepared to transfer to Chico State in the fall where she plans to pursue a degree in communications.
Graduate Pursues Degree in Musical Theater
"Yes! Definitely!" is the answer you get from Emily Jessica Grigg when you ask her if her student experience at Butte College was a good one.
Grigg said she chose Butte College because it made sense economically and she felt it would be a good transition into the college environment from her private home school education.
"It turned out to be really nice. I really like the student-teacher relationships. They have great office hours, are really helpful and I developed friendships. It is also just such a welcoming atmosphere; everyone from admissions to the counselors and teachers are just great. Butte College really has everything you need laid out really well for your success," said Grigg.
Grigg, 22, said she also chose Butte College because of the many referrals and recommendations she received.
"I'll be one of those people who recommend Butte now. I know that my classes there really prepared me for Chico State," she said.
Grigg, one of the students graduating with a 4.0, will major in Behavioral and Social Science, and will be transferring to Chico State in the fall to study musical theater.
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Butte College serves 22,000 students annually and is an accredited community college serving Butte and Glenn Counties.