May 17, 2019 – BRTC held its Fall Commencement May 16 in the Randolph County Development Center. BRTC awarded 256 degrees and certificates to 224 graduates. Some students completed more than one certificate or degree. Separate commencement ceremonies were held for nursing, respiratory, and law enforcement graduates.
Degrees were conferred by BRTC Interim President Dr. Jan Ziegler and awarded by Interim Vice President for Academic Sissy Gray. Degrees awarded included two-year associate of arts, associate of science, and associate of applied science degrees as well as one-year technical certificates and one-semester certificates of proficiency.
Drew Calhoun, candidate for the associate of arts, served as graduate candidate spokesperson. He applauded the hard work of his classmates and quoted Winston Churchill: “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” Drew plans to attend ASU and major in history and minor in urban planning. He hopes to one day rebuild small historic downtowns in Arkansas. Drew is the son of Ricky and Sarah Calhoun of Corning.
Arkansas senator James Sturch served as guest speaker. Senator Sturch reminded students of the variety of people who helped them arrive at graduation and remarked that no one person is a self-made man or woman: “we owe our success to the investment and success of others.” He told students they will be leaders by virtue of their education, whether in their own families or at work, and their leadership will lend influence to their opinions. He said to the graduates, “Where you want to go is a decision only you can make.”
Senator Sturch is a lifelong resident of Independence County. He is a graduate of Southside High School and University of Arkansas at Little Rock where he earned degrees in political science and education. He is a certified high school social studies teacher and has a masters in public administration.
Senator Sturch is the youngest person elected to the Arkansas legislature and has served in both the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate. He has worked in the Education Committee and the State Agencies Committee. Currently he serves on the Senate Education Committee and Agriculture Development Committee. He is also the vice chair of the Senate Rules Committee. Senator Sturch is married to Macy and they reside in Batesville Southside.