Pioneer power pays off for Delta graduates

By Michael Piwowarski, news editor.

UNIVERSITY CENTER – After many semesters filled with long days at class and long nights getting homework done, Delta College students finally reached the end of the Pioneer path Friday, April 26.

The west main hallway was lined with hundreds of students with different majors, different career goals and different walks of life. The endurance to succeed in college, make it to graduation and move on to bigger things was one thing they all had in common.

Jean Goodnow, president of Delta College, commended the graduating class of 2019 as they filled the center of the Pioneer Gym.

“Let no one ever doubt that you can do anything that you set your mind to,” said Goodnow. “You learned a lot at Delta College and I am so proud of each of you.”

Goodnow reminded the graduates that as they persevered through their challenges, they were not in it alone.

Delta College Commencement 2019

“You have learned who you are and what you are made of,” said Goodnow. “Importantly though, you have not learned these things alone. None of us have arrived where we are by ourselves. […] We are all in this together.”

Two students in particular were chosen as the standout graduates who would speak at the ceremony.

Jessica Fraley, associate in general studies, rose from a low point in her life when she struggled with heroin addiction before coming to Delta. Currently four years in recovery, Fraley has realized her potential at Delta. She now runs Pivot Point, a non profit organization which exists to provide support and training for people who deal with high barriers to employment.

“The time I spent at Delta has opened the door to endless possibilities. […] Delta gave us a chance and we took it. Then Delta gave us a future,” said Fraley.

Joseph Thornton, who is also associate in general studies, remarked about his background as a high school student who performed poorly. When it came time for college, he made a commitment to performing above and beyond expectations.

With involvement in several community organizations, as well as leadership positions at the Delta Collegiate and the Delta College Economics Club, Thornton’s persistence had paid off.

“Once I started applying myself, I realized how much more I was capable of,” said Thornton.

With the fanfare that these students received at the ceremony, the crowd was no less enthusiastic for the other graduates, as the reading of each name and the presentation of each diploma was met with thunderous applause.

“I truly wish we had the opportunity to get to know each and every student this evening,” said Diane Middleton, chair of the Delta board of trustees. “Your stories, your aspirations, and what made you, you.”

With supportive family and friends present for those wearing the green caps and gowns, the energetic celebration in the Pioneer Gym was for everyone.

“As you celebrate this milestone, please accept my heartfelt congratulations, as well as those of the Delta College faculty, staff and administration,” said Goodnow.

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