Trinidad State Junior College recognized 280 degree and certificate graduates of the Trinidad Campus at its annual Spring Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 10. Of the 280 graduating, 131 wore caps and gowns and participated in the ceremony.
Held in Sebastiani Gym at 10 a.m., the keynote speaker for the ceremony was University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Chancellor Dr. Pamela Shockley-Zalabak. The author of eight books and more than 100 articles and productions on organizational communication, Dr. Shockley told the graduating students “I think you chose one of the best junior colleges in the United States.” Her speech focused on the idea that, “We each have choices, not only in our careers, but also in our lives.”
In emphasizing her point to graduates about choosing paths in life, she quoted Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”
Dr. Shockley also shared inspiring stories about a few of the students graduating from Trinidad State, like Josh Guzman, who was the first cosmetology student in 25 years to never miss class or show up late. Furthermore, he is completing two years of curriculum in just three semesters while working full time in the evenings and on weekends.
Career and Technical Honor Graduates Cody Coles and Tyler Guyett and Arts and Science Honor Graduates Kaycee Prevedel and Thomas Staver spoke at the ceremony.
Manufacturing Technology graduate and now Gunsmithing student Guyett said, “I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go to college, because I hated High School. I had a low GPA because I refused to do my homework.” After high school, he worked as a security guard and bouncer then enlisted in the Army. Toward the end of his service, he decided he wanted to be a Gunsmith.
“I wanted to create with my hands, having spent three-quarters of a decade using them to destroy,” Guyett said. He waited more than four years to enroll in the gunsmithing program at Trinidad State, and meanwhile completed a degree in Manufacturing Technology to learn general machining and welding. “I completed my degree with a 4.0 to prove to myself that I could,” he said. Guyett will continue his studies in gunsmithing in the upcoming fall semester.
Staver, who graduated with an Associates of Science and an Associates of Arts degree, told the audience he was elected “Biggest Slacker” in high school just two years ago, but that Trinidad State “really changed my life.” While at TSJC, Staver was part of the Robotics Team that recently won the first place award at the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. He will be transferring to Colorado School of Mines to pursue a bachelor’s in engineering.
Students with 4.0 GPAs wore gold cords, those with 3.75-3.99 GPAs wore silver cords and those with 3.5-3.749 wore bronze cords. Also honored were Phi Theta Kappa graduates, first generation students—those who are the first in their families to graduate college, concurrent enrollment students, online degree graduates and members of Student Government.
During the graduation ceremony, Foundation Director Toni DeAngelis recognized alumni class representatives. Those honored included Kellie Mangino, Class of 2003; Patrick Malone, Class of 1993; Diane Maniscalco Martin, Class of 1983; Linda Shea Pfalmer, Class of 1973; Steve Cook, Class of 1963; and Al Sanchez, Class of 1953.