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Democrat Photo by Matthew Youngfrau

A HAPPY MOMENT: 2000 SCCC grad Dorothy Kester accepts her diploma from President Mamie Howard Golladay during Saturday’s commencement ceremonies at the college in Loch Sheldrake.

Human Stories Enhance 36th SCCC Graduation

By Matthew Youngfrau
LOCH SHELDRAKE — May 16, 2000 -- The road to higher education has been paved with sacrifice, tears, happiness, fear, and pain.
About 300 people reached a milestone in that journey Saturday when they graduated from Sullivan County Community College in Loch Sheldrake at the thirty-sixth annual commencement.
A very large crowd of family and friends packed the Paul Gerry Fieldhouse to witness that milestone, learning that there are many, many stories of people who sacrificed and worked hard – even when they thought they would never see this day come.
Truly, each one of them had their own tale to tell.
“This is the most exciting day I have had in a long time,” commented graduate Kim Hale. “It is an honor to be here to share this moment with my family and friends.”
Hale was just one of the extraordinary graduates who came to SCCC after not being in school for a while and yet exceeded most people’s imaginations.
One other such story involves three women who practically grew up together: Susanne Myrick, Allison Myrick, and Christie Ford.
Allison and Christie are practically sisters. They went to school together, graduated together, had daughters together, and entered college together. While the two had identical marks and were both in Honor Society, they complimented each other by highlighting the other’s strengths and making up for what little weaknesses they had.
“I couldn’t have done this without Allison and Sue,” said Ford. “I am very proud of them and myself.”
“It feels so good to be here and be done with this,” added Allison Myrick. “It’s scary to think of what’s next. I am very proud of my mom and Christie.”
It wasn’t easy for Susanne Myrick either. Saturday’s degree was her second one (she received an associate’s in liberal arts last year). She graduated from the very difficult Nursing Program. She also worked and cared for her husband, her four daughters, and her granddaughter. But she was there for Ford and many of Allison’s friends as an adopted mother. All this, and she still maintained her standing in Honor Society.
“I worked very hard and fulfilled a lifetime of dreams,” Sue Myrick said. “The only thing that makes me more proud is watching Allison march in front of me. Allison and Christie worked real hard, and they’re great girls.”
Other touching stories focused on three honored graduates: Sherry Fitzgerald, Angela Rogers, and Kim Hale. All three were returning adult students and worked very hard to achieve their 4.0 grade point averages. In their keynote speeches, both Fitzgerald and Rogers praised the school and thanked family and friends for supporting them.
To tears of joy and relief, many people were honored at graduation. Both Rogers and Fitzgerald received the Faculty Award for General Excellence. Hale was honored with the Trustees’ Award for Civic Achievement. Also recognized was professor Dr. Timothy McKnight Russell. Dr. Russell was awarded the highest honor any teacher can receive: the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.
“I treasure moments like this,” SCCC President Dr. Mamie Howard Golladay said in her address. “You are all special people who have realized some of your educational goals. May the forces of good be with you always.”


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