12/19/10 — More than 300 graduate in MOC commencement

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More than 300 graduate in MOC commencement

By Gary Popp
Published in News on December 19, 2010 1:50 AM

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Mount Olive College held its fall commencement ceremony Saturday with more than 300 graduates receiving their diplomas.

More than 300 students from Mount Olive College and its six satellite campuses convened in Mount Olive for commencement ceremonies Saturday.

The school's 57th commencement took place in Kornegay Arena before a crowd of nearly 1,300.

The commencement address was given by Col. Patrick J. Doherty.

Doherty strove to inspire the students by telling them that when they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas they were not crossing a finish line, but crossing a starting line.

And one of the top performers from the Mount Olive campus was student Allison Czerski.

Four years ago, Ms. Czerski took a friend's advice and left South Carolina to visit MOC.

On Saturday, Ms. Czerski earned not only an English degree, but also honors in the form of the Thomas R. Morris Award for Academic Excellence.

She said she has conflicting feelings about leaving MOC.

"It is exciting and bittersweet, definitely. I love the campus. I love the school. I love the people here, the atmosphere," she said.

And because of her unique education history, she knows a little something about people and atmosphere.

Because of her father's business commitments overseas, Ms. Czerski went to school in Thailand from first to seventh grade at the International School of Bangkok.

"It was full of students and teachers from all over the world. It was a cultural experience, but at the same time you are learning what other kids are learning."

As an adult, Ms. Czerski has made a home in Mount Olive for four years.

"I have enjoyed living here. I always feel safe here. There are friendly people who tend to look out for each other and you," she said.

Ms. Czerski said she thinks she was chosen for the award because administrators noticed her extracurricular activities and performance in the classroom. As a student at MOC, Czerski played third base for several years on the college's softball team. She has also served the local community by involving herself in Habitat for Humanity activities and Make-A-Wish Foundation.

On the academic front, Ms. Czerski earned a 4.0 GPA for the last three semesters.

And while Ms. Czerski was an extraordinary student, she was having very ordinary feelings for a recent graduate.

"I am a little unsure of where I will be going in the future so it is a little bit nerve racking, but exciting at the same time," she said. "I would love to travel, to work overseas. I do plan to work for the government in the long run. Hopefully that takes me different places."

Her parents, Al and Dottie, came from Charleston, S.C., to watch their daughter graduate and receive the top accolades.

"She has always been special to us," Mrs. Czerski said.

Mrs. Czerski said her daughter has taken full of advantage of being a Mount Olive student and community member.

"She loves Mount Olive. She has really thoroughly enjoyed and embraced everything they have afforded her to do," she said.

Her father has witnessed his daughter's determination reap rewards.

"She has always worked very hard. Everything she does she applies herself," Czerski said.

Ms. Czerski had a bit of advice to any students who want to mimic her successes.

"Talk to the teachers and see what kind of ideas they have, do all the work and have fun while you do it," she said.