An excited collective of proud parents, friends and loved ones gathered around Los Medanos College’s football field the evening of May 20 to witness roughly 412 of the college’s finest graduates in what was LMC’s 41 commencement ceremony.
LMC Vice President Kevin Horan opened the ceremony with a short speech. He thanked everyone for coming out to witness the graduation, as it was a record event for the college.
The number of students graduating went up approximately 17 percent from last year according to Horan.
He then introduced Third Class Petty Officer Patrick McQuaid, who led attendees in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. After everyone was back in their seats LMC President Bob Kratochvil approached the podium where he began to talk about how proud he was of “the graduating champions of 2015.” He attributed the success of the graduates to the hard work they put in and to the people who showed up saying “they’ve also had strong support from their fans.” He ended the speech with an inspirational quote from late basketball player and coach, John Wooden.
Next to speak was Contra Costa Community College District’s Board President, John Nejedley. He hopes those who are moving on from LMC remember their time at the school “with fondness and a sense of accomplishment.”
Chancellor of the CCCCD Dr. Helen Benjamin approached the podium after Nejedley, to speak. She congratulated the graduating class and joked that she knew some of the parents in attendance were finally happy to see their children on their way. She ended by quoting a section of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go.”
Academic Senate President gave a short but congratulatory speech, thanking the graduates for all their hard work.
Classified Senate President Linda Koehler was introduced and after she gave attendees some background information on student speakers Journalism major Suzzanne Sperry and communications major Vivien Lewis.
Sperry was the first to speak. She spoke about her struggle to find a consistent balance between simultaneously being a student and motherhood. The importance of having a support system was heavily emphasized. “Some of us had that one person who believed in us.”
She noted LMC was accommodating and she expressed gratitude toward those who helped her on her way. She said she heard LMC referred to as “Lost My Chance” which she felt was incorrect.
“I got to live my chance and I hope you do too.”
Sperry ended her speech with an emphatic “Let’s celebrate!” after which people cheered and applauded.
Lewis then made her way to the podium where she began speaking about the journey it took just to make it to that football field, which earlier Kratochvil referred to as a “field of dreams.” She joked “Who wants to get up early and sit in class at eight o’clock on a Monday morning, or on any morning?” The crowd laughed and her speech took a more serious tone. She said “making excuses is easy” and that sometimes, mediocrity is deemed as acceptable, but that her number one personal driving force was ”the pursuit of excellence.”
“There is one thing I ask you to stand on and that is your education,” said Lewis.
She thanked those who helped her along the way and addressed those who showed up. “We feel the support and appreciation for our accomplishments.” She garnered applause as she made her way back to her seat.
Finally it was time for the graduates to walk. They were to be introduced by soon-to-retire instructors Nancy Ramirez and Daniel Ramirez.
Attendees cheered as the first line of people got up and waited for their names to be called. Row after row of graduates walked some showing off, and some just passing through with smiles on their faces.
In the middle of the ceremony, the audience made a sinister noise as a strong gust blew note cards out of the hands of those who were helping present the class of 2015. Still, the ceremony waged on without mistake.
After the last person was called, both the audience and the graduates cheered and applauded. Kratochvil then led the turning of the tassel in which the graduates stood and moved their tassel from the left of their caps, to the right. The ceremony was officially over and as everyone made their way to various parts of the campus, the DJ played Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration,” Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and James Brown’s “I Got You” while the crowd sang and danced.