John Tyler grad­u­ates over 1200 stu­dents

The Progress-Index Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By John Adam Staff Writer

ETTRICK — Geo­vany Chavar­ria, whose fam­ily moved to the U.S. from Gu­atemala in 2006, ra­di­ated with pride as he talked about be­ing the first mem­ber of his fam­ily to grad­u­ate from col­lege.

“I feel very joy­ful right now,” said Chavar­ria. “My great-grand­par­ents didn’t fin­ish high school, my grand­par­ents only went

to high school, my mother fin­ished high school but never fin­ished col­lege. So I’m the first to get a de­gree from col­lege. It’s amaz­ing, I couldn’t be more happy right now.”

Chavar­ria, who grad­u­ated with a de­gree in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, hopes to re­turn to his home coun­try one day to help the peo­ple there.

“I want to be­come an en­tre­pre­neur,” he said. “Hope­fully one day I can go back to my home coun­try and do things over there for the poor and op­pressed. And through busi­ness, I can of­fer them em­ploy­ment.”

Chavar­ria was one of over a thou­sand stu­dents from John Tyler Com­mu­nity Col­lege to re­ceive their de­gree last night. Fam­ily and friends filled the mul­ti­pur­pose cen­ter at Vir­ginia State to watch their loved ones walk across the stage.

“My grand­mother al­ways said, ‘peo­ple can take ev­ery­thing away from you, but they can’t take away your ed­u­ca­tion,’” said Erica A. Mokun, one of the stu­dent speaker.

The cer­e­mony opened with a spe­cial in­tro­duc­tion by the Pres­i­dent of John Tyler, Ed­ward E. Raspiller. Raspiller con­grat­u­lated all the stu­dents and rec­og­nized the 40 stu­dents who had com­pleted his or her as­so­ciate-de­gree dur­ing their last two years of high school. Wil­liam C. Fiege, the Vice Pres­i­dent, also con­grat­u­lated the stu­dents.

“I know each grad­u­ate has a story as to how you got here tonight,” he said.

Mar­shall A. Maloney and Mokun were the stu­dent speak­ers, who each shared their ex­pe­ri­ences at the col­lege be­fore in­tro­duc­ing the com­mence­ment speaker, Vir­ginia State Se­na­tor Ros­alyn R. Dance. The stu­dents then filed across the stage to re­ceive their de­grees.

[JOHN ADAM/PROGRESS-IN­DEX. COM]

Geo­vany Chavar­ria, left, and Shan­non Gar­cia, right, share a light mo­ment be­fore the John Tyler Com­mu­nity Col­lege Com­mence­ment Cer­e­mony on Fri­day.

[JOHN ADAM/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

Grad­u­ates from John Tyler Com­mu­nity Col­lege lis­ten to stu­dent speaker Erica A. Mokun dur­ing the com­mence­ment cer­e­mony on Fri­day at the Vir­ginia State Univer­sity Mul­ti­pur­pose Cen­ter.

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