BRTC held its Fall Commencement this past Thursday evening in the Randolph County Development Center. BRTC awarded 39 degrees and certificates to 218 graduates. Some students completed more than one certificate or degree. Separate commencement ceremonies were held for nursing and law enforcement graduates.
Degrees were conferred by BRTC President Dr. Eric Turner and awarded by Vice President for General Education Dr. Roger Johnson. Degrees awarded included two-year Associate of Arts, Associate of Business, and Associate of Applied Science degrees as well as one-year technical certificates, and one-semester certificates of proficiency.
Dane Dillion, candidate for the Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, served as graduate candidate spokesperson. He told students graduation requires 3 attributes: responsibility, perseverance, doing what they love. He encouraged them to continue practicing these attributes and acknowledged the tremendous support base required to attend college. Dillion is a law enforcement officer at BRTC. He has a wife and one daughter.
M.D. Williams Literacy teacher and BRTC Alumna Tonya Hutsell served as guest speaker. Howell gave graduates three pieces of advice to students: determine, diligent, and be a dreamer. She related her experience as a student, fulltime worker, fulltime mother and wife, and caregiver of her sick mother. While going to school and juggling her other responsibilities, both her mother and her father-in-law became sick and died. “Everything in my life had changed,” she said, “but algebra and college did not. It was my only consistency.”
She said going to college was the “toughest most exhilarating adventure I had ever agreed to take” and encouraged anyone interested in attending college to do it.
Hutsell was awarded the Randolph County Teacher of the Year for Pocahontas School District for 2015-2016. She is a BRTC and William’s Baptist College graduate. She is also a singer. Hutsell and her husband have 2 sons, who are, along with their father, both graduates of BRTC.