DCC graduates 47 in 76th commencement (slideshow 8)
Dawson Community College sent 47 new graduates out into the world Thursday night with the school’s 76th commencement ceremony.
Former Montana Secretary of State Linda McCullough delivered the commencement address. McCullough told the graduates that contrary to popular belief, they did not learn all they really needed to know in kindergarten. Instead she told them the evening was the culmination of the past 16 years or so of their educational experience.
McCullough picked out several major educational disciplines to make her point.
She noted that one of the first things graduates had learned in school was how to read, and she encouraged them to never stop reading as they move beyond the classroom.
“And I don’t just mean social media,” McCullough added. “Pick up a book and put that down.”
She also encouraged them to put their math skills to use to begin saving for their future, even telling them to immediately begin putting away money for retirement.
“You also learned to add and subtract, so my advice to you is save your money and keep your checkbook balanced,” McCullough said.
Speaking of geography, McCullough told graduates to go out and see as much of the world as possible.
“My advice is to travel. Take some time to occasionally get away, you learn more from those trips than anything else,” she said.
McCullough also asked graduates to remember their science lessons and to not get so caught up in the rat race that they forget to take the time to appreciate the natural world.
“Don’t get so busy you forget the fact that you are part of nature,” she said.
Speaking of civics, McCullough asked all the graduates to make sure they vote and actively participate as much as possible in the political process, whether it be serving on a community board or running for statewide or national office.
“Be involved at any level that’s acceptable to you, and maybe a level that’s outside your comfort zone,” she said.
Finally, McCullough implored graduates to “never stop learning,” and to take the knowledge they have learned in school and in life and share it with those who will come behind them.
“I do have a favor to ask you; I ask you to pass on what you have learned,” McCullough said. “Go forth and do good things.”
Graduates were also treated to remarks and words of wisdom from faculty members, administrators and classmates.
Associate Student Body president Kaelee Fuller told her classmates that she’s learned that people are always able to “change our perspective” if they allow and told them to never get discouraged if things aren’t going their way, saying that learning from one’s mistakes and how a person handles adversity is just as important as their successes.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned here at DCC, the ‘Uh-oh’ moments are just as important as the ‘Ah-hah’ moments,” Fuller said.
Head women’s basketball coach Romeo Lagmay pulled on that same thread, telling graduates that one of the keys to finding success is not getting discouraged or giving up when adversity arises.
“Don’t get sidetracked, stay the course. Quitting is not an option,” Lagmay said. “If plan A fails, just know there’s 25 more letters of the alphabet.”
DCC Board Chairman Chad Knudson used the opportunity to not only congratulate graduates, but to stress the continued importance of DCC to the Glendive community and to Eastern Montana as a whole.
“Over the past 77 years, the contributions of this college to this community are too numerous to count and too important for words,” Knudson said. “Access to education in a small, rural, underserved area is as important as it’s ever been, because each of you is important.”
As DCC sent out another graduating class, Knudson also took the opportunity to get a shot in at the Montana Legislature, some members of which had tried this past session to completely defund the college.
“The purpose of this college, contrary to the opinions of some, is very much alive,” Knudson said to cheers and applause from the crowd.
Reach Jason Stuart at firstname.lastname@example.org.