BRTC held its Fall Commencement this past Thursday evening in the Randolph County Development Center. BRTC awarded 39 degrees and certificates to 284 graduates. Some students completed more than one certificate. Separate commencement ceremonies were held for nursing, respiratory, and law enforcement graduates.
Degrees were conferred by BRTC President Dr. Eric Turner and awarded by Vice President for General Education Dr. Roger Johnson and Vice President for Technical Education Angie Caldwell. Degrees awarded included two-year Associate of Arts, Associate of Business, and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as one-year technical certificates, one-semester certificates of proficiency, and GEDs.
Shilah Meeks, candidate for the Associate of Science in Business, served as graduate candidate spokesperson. She reminded her classmates to be “kind, considerate, and you’ll go far in life.”
BRTC Fine Arts Department Head and Speech and Theater Instructor Kelly Grooms served as keynote speaker. Grooms reminded graduates that there are three building blocks for achieving happiness: family, friends, and their community. He described BRTC’s transformation from a vocational technical college to a state community college, explaining that the faculty and staff who helped BRTC undergo that process became family. He encouraged graduates to support future graduates by giving back and challenged them to “purposefully seek someone who can befit from your kindness and generosity.”
Grooms grew up in and graduated from Pocahontas High School in 1982 then from Arkansas State University with both his bachelor and master degrees in Speech, Communication, and Theatre arts. He has taught drama and speech at BRTC for 27 years. Grooms is COO for Downtown Playhouse, Inc., and has directed and designed several productions for The Foundation of Arts in Jonesboro. Before, the Downtown Playhouse, Grooms was Artistic Director with the Imperial Dinner Theatre.
Grooms and his wife Dathne have served as therapeutic foster parents for over 80 children in a 9-county region. He views his involvement with these kids as the most important work of his life. He and Dathne have 5 children and 1 grandson.
To view photos from Commencement go here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/blackrivertech/sets/72157660207699543.