By Mosqueda Christian / Staff Writer
About 1,311 graduates completed a major milestone in their education Thursday, June 11, with about half attending a joyous ceremony amid humor and wise advice at LBCC.
LBCC President Eloy Oakley presented the commencement speaker of honor, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. He congratulated the graduates for their educational achievement. The mayor gave advice to the students as well as the multitude of parents, friends, family and employees in attendance.
Garcia said, “Never underestimate yourself. Continue your education or learning trade. Consume as much media and information as possible. Never forget where you came from and be kind to others around you.”
Garcia then concluded his speech by taking a selfie from the stage with all the graduates in the background.
The ceremony is available through the LBCC You Tube channel and was livestreamed for the first time.
ASB President Lokilani Hunt got the ceremonial events going when she said, “This ceremony acknowledges these students, us!” Hunt advised the graduates to use the newfound education and experience to “power your ambitions.”
Kinesiology professor and Academic Senate President Karen Kane encouraged students to remain connected and reach back to their school and their community. Kane said although many students are pursuing what they love, others are not and are still unsure of what lies next for them. For those she said, “Be passionate about learning. It (your purpose) will reveal itself.”
LBCC was also recognized for being the Community College with the second most scholarships distributed west of the Mississippi River. Vice President of Student Support Services Greg Peterson said about $1.5 million was awarded this year to LBCC students with the oldest recipient being 67 and the youngest 16.
Among the award recognitions, 119 students were recognized for honors, 63 graduates had high honors and eight had highest honors with a 4.0 grade point averages. Also, 392 certificates of achievement were also awarded to students.
Valedictorians Liam Donohue and Mei Raczkowski gave speeches at the ceremony. Donohue earned an associate of arts in foreign languages (Chinese and Japanese) and will transfer to UCLA in the Fall where he will major in linguistics and minor in foreign languages.
Donohue said, “We are not here to survive, but to thrive. Live courageously.”
Raczkowski, 37, moved from China six years ago. She enrolled in English as a second language classes, however the culture shock and the language barrier were obstacles in her learning experience. When talking about what was her secret to her success, Raczkowski said, “Follow the 10,000-hour rule (of one’s passion). Whatever your passion is, start adding your 10,000 hours.”
LBCC President Eloy Oakley said after the 2 1/2-hour ceremony, “We are very proud of student diversity, very proud of the community. Looking forward to what is next. It was a great year.”