Student Success Highlighted at 2011 Commencement

Among the students who crossed the stage to receive their degrees and certificates at this year’s Glendale Community College commencement were:

April Hammonds
April changed her life and transformed herself at GCC. Earning an Associate in Arts and AA in General Studies, she lost more than 200 pounds along the way. Asked to leave high school when she became pregnant, years later she came here to campus for her GED. She continued on. It was a struggle going to college while being a single parent and taking care of her mother who is battling a rare form of cancer. GCC’s fitness and wellness staff worked with April to help change her lifestyle with an exercise and eating program. Volunteering in our adaptive gym, she found her calling and is transferring to Northern Arizona University’s Physical Therapy program.

Angela Warren
This Honors student earned her AA and wants to work with homeless teens so she can “pay forward” the one-on-one encouragement and confidence she received at GCC. She was getting ready to withdraw from her upcoming ASU classes because she couldn’t afford to earn her bachelor’s degree. Then, it was announced that Angela is one of just 60 students in the entire nation receiving a Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship that gives her $30,000 annually to complete her degree.

Anthony Christie
Misunderstood in elementary school for his dyslexia and told to leave high school due to chronic respiratory infections, Anthony found himself working minimum wage jobs. Accompanying a nephew, he took a night class at GCC. He did so well that the instructor took him to meet Engineering Professor Paula Cheslik. With help from admissions and financial aid, he became a full time student and his true intelligence shone – he’s graduating in the Honors Program with a 4.0 earning an AAS in Engineering. He is on his way to ASU Engineering. Anthony says his only regret is that he can’t stay at GCC to earn his engineering degree.

Ruben Ba’ak Rivas
Ruben left the Tohono O’Odham Reservation for a chance at a better life. When he took an entrepreneurs workshop, the instructor encouraged him to go to GCC and pursue a business degree. Although he was nervous when he came to campus because it had been years since he had earned his GED, he found dedicated people and academic assistance that kept him on the success track. President of the Native American Club for several years, he serves as a role model for his sons and other high school students who are in Hoops of Learning at GCC. We congratulate him on his acceptance into the ASU WP Carey School of Business.

Cathy Jarnagin
Receiving her General Office Secretary Certificate of Completion, Cathy says that in addition to the computer, software and business knowledge she’s acquired, one of her most valuable lessons has been the people skills that help her demonstrate the professional ways to communicate. Cathy is profuse in her praise for the business staff and faculty who worked diligently with her as she learned the Excel, PowerPoint and other programs that have netted her a position in the offices of a local church. The first in her family to attend college, they are here today to applaud her accomplishment.


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