Cerro Coso graduates Elizabeth Meacham, Rebekkah Rivera, Alondra Figueroa and Chelsey McDowell
By Charles James
Last Friday at the campus of Cerro Coso College in Bishop, forty-four graduates were awarded diplomas in front of several hundred family members, friends, and faculty. Thirty-two of the graduates were from Bishop while twelve from the Mammoth Lakes campus. Many, if not most, plan to transfer to four-year colleges to further their educational goals.
Associate of Arts degrees were awarded in Liberal Arts in Arts & Humanities, Mathematics & Sciences, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Physical Education. Associate of Science degrees were awarded in Vocational Nursing (LVN). Certificates & Awards were presented to others in Administration of Justice, Business Office Clerk, Human Services, and Vocational Nursing (LVN).
For both men and women, a college education and a college degree is a signature achievement. A diploma is however far more than simply a piece of a paper; it is a ticket to the future? and one that is, according to studies, still most likely leads to success in the workplace and in society.
Belief that a good education is the key to success is a long-held American belief that goes back to the earliest beginnings of the first colonies and it was largely only available for males. The idea was that education improved a man’s moral character, made him a better citizen and member of the community. While education was limited to mostly boys and men, it is now women that comprise 57% of college enrollments and it is women that are now more than half of those that graduate.
Eastern Sierra College Center Director Deanna Campbell welcomed the guests and introduced speakers President Jill Board, and Dr. Corey Marvin, the Vice President of Cerro Coso Community College. Kern Community College District Chancellor, Sandra Serrano, spoke as well to the guests and graduates.
Student speaker Marissa Dierner spoke of her gratitude, one shared by many of the graduates, for the support of the school’s administration, faculty, and staff; especially her personal thanks and affection for college counselor Greg Kost, for whom many students expressed gratitude in helping them chart their success towards graduation. Student speakers Maggie Wolfe Riley and Christopher Heckerman also spoke eloquently on behalf of themselves and their fellow graduates.
Music was provided by the Eastern Sierra Chamber Orchestra Strings conducted by Brian Schuldt and after the ceremony, graduates and guests were treated to refreshments provided by the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, B.P. Distributing, Eastern Sierra Distributing, Erick Schat’s Bakkery, Manor Market, Rainbow Pack Outfitters, and Vons of Bishop.
Significant financial support was provided to over half of the graduates through local foundations which included the Donald M. Slager Sunset Foundation, the Eastern Sierra Foundation, and the Mammoth Lakes Foundation.
While the graduates of Cerro Coso Community College on this day were decked out in robes, mortarboards, and tassels, surrounded by loving, proud, and adoring supporters, the most obvious fact of the day was not that there were forty- four graduates, but that there were forty-four “winners.”