CCC&TI adds 775 curriculum graduates

May. 10, 2013 @ 09:33 PM

They put in two years of their lives – sometimes three or four or even more.

They drape themselves in hot, black polyester and don mortarboard caps.

They walk carefully across the stage, maybe turn their heads to acknowledge the cheers of mothers and fathers and cousins and wives.

Then they take the strings of their tassels in their hands, move them from right to left, and it’s time:

Time to be nurses and accountants and landscapers. Time to move on toward a bachelor’s degree, maybe. Time to find a better-paying, better-loved job.

It happens every year at Caldwell Community College & Technical Institute’s curriculum graduation, and it happened again Friday night.

But each time, it’s different. Each time, there are new stories.

On Friday, there were numbers – including the big one, 775 new graduates.

And then there were stories.

Like the story of Manuela Miller, who’s finally making a living doing what she had always enjoyed as a hobby – landscape gardening.

Or Richard Lloyd, a junior graduating from the culinary arts program, who wants to open his own restaurant. (It’ll offer a healthy twist on Southern foods and will be somewhere in the Unifour area, he said).

Talk to anyone in a cap and gown at this event, and you’ll hear about workloads you may not be able to imagine. You’ll hear about school paired with parenting, or with a full-time job, or involvement in every extracurricular imaginable – or all of the above.

These people fought to get where they are.

Four-hundred and nine of them were the first college graduates in their families.

So they all left the stage on Friday, and went on to find their families and friends, and quietly, imperceptibly, a page flipped over to reveal a new chapter.

They’ll do something new. They’ll do something next.

And any success they manage to find?

They’ve earned it.