It was an absolutely beautiful May evening as the families and friends of the 328 students in the 2012 graduating class at Middlesex Community College gathered Thursday on Training Hill to celebrate their accomplishments.
Clad in black gowns made from 100 percent post-consumer-waste plastic, the graduates listened intently to the invocation as well as greetings, poems, speeches and praise from professors, fellow students, alumni, political figures and others.
Reminding the graduates that, “… none of us get to where we are without the help of others,” Middlesex CC President Anna Wasescha explained that the Class of 2012 had graduates ranging in age from 19 to 61. She pointed out that the most persistent student in the bunch was one who began his college career at Middlesex in 1978 and graduated last night.
“Unfortunately there is no award for this student,” Wasescha said.
Student representative Peter Woolard said he had been answering the question, “So what do you want to do when you graduate from college?” by saying “I want to retire.”
Woolard went on to say, “The more I learn the more I realize just how little I know … learning is a lifelong process.
“We are all a collective assemblage of great minds, when put together we are capable of great things … be sure to take advantage of all the possibilities offered to you. Congratulations to each and every one of you.”
Representing just that sentiment, alumnus Hanna Watkins, a poet from the Class of 2011, took full advantage of her audience’s introspection as she recited her original poem and explained that Middlesex is where she found her voice and “… a voice is nothing if it is not used.”
Using his public voice to impart some historical facts about Connecticut, history and environmental changes over the past 100 years, state representative Philip Miller addressed the graduates with a speech about change.
“You are Connecticut’s greatest resource and product. You have the skills and the knowledge to think, receive and achieve. Good luck and Godspeed.”
Before the bevy of diplomas was given out and all 328 graduates could sigh with relief that they had completed their college careers, academic awards were bestowed upon Susan Ann Bukowski, Susan Van Ness, Jennifer Pittman and Emily O’Brian.
As the ceremony wrapped up, the sense of optimism, accomplishment, happiness and a little fear could be seen and felt as one by one, the graduates received their diplomas and walked off the stage and into the
next chapter of their lives.