05/08/11 — College plans for largest class in history

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College plans for largest class in history

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 8, 2011 1:50 AM

The largest graduating class in the history of Wayne Community College will receive diplomas this week, in the second of two commencement ceremonies held by the school.

There are an estimated 557 curriculum program candidates for the Wednesday evening ceremony, officials said.

It is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at Love Temple, 201 N. Oak Forest Road. Admission is by ticket only, with each graduate being provided four tickets. No one will be admitted after 5:50 p.m. and there is no overflow option at this venue, officials said.

For the first time, though, the ceremony will be streamed live, officials announced Thursday. The event can be viewed in real time on computers and on various smart phones, at www.waynecc.edu/graduation.

Phillip Parry Sr., recipient of the 2010 N.C. Community Colleges Academic Excell-ence Award who finished at WCC in Dec. and is now a student at East Carolina University, is on the program to speak.

Ceremonies for the Basic Skills, or adult high school, program will take place on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. in Moffatt Auditorium on the WCC campus. Fifty-nine high school diplomas and 216 GED certificates will be awarded.

Tickets are also required for that ceremony, with graduates each being given five. Those without tickets will be accommodated in the college's dining hall, where large-screen monitors will be set up for viewing.

Featured speaker at the Basic Skills event will be Andrew Robinson, a 21-year-old who had dropped out of high school just weeks before the end of his senior year.

At the time, he says now, he couldn't see the value of education and was more focused on the crowd he hung out with than preparing for the future.

It didn't take him long to realize how tough it would be finding a job without even a high school diploma.

"It took me about a year to really decide to go back to school," he said, crediting his mother and four older siblings, all high school graduates, with setting the example.

"My second oldest brother just graduated from Fayetteville State University last year. He actually did a lot of pushing, helping me to go for it with my education and so forth. He was telling me that education is the key to all successes and I realize that's true."

It was admittedly difficult returning to school, and it took him more than four years to finish. But in addition to his family, he found reasons to persevere.

"The teachers, the administration, the friends, I found positive friends I surrounded myself with," he said. "They were motivating to me going to school and getting my work done."

He was pleasantly surprised to be invited to speak at his own graduation, he said. But even moreso, he is happy to be making his family proud and doesn't plan on stopping with a high school diploma.

In the fall he will attend Wayne Community as a college student.

"Perhaps I'll study business administration, I'm not certain," he said. "I really want to work with kids."

This year's graduation exercises will have a unique twist, as guests are encouraged to bring a donation for tornado victims and local organizations that are assisting them. Bins will be set up at both ceremonies to collect such items as food, regular and travel-size hygiene items, cleaning supplies, pet food and toys.

The project is being done in honor of the WCC Class of 2011 and those making a donation will receive an acknowledgment card that can be presented to their graduate.

Contributed items will be distributed on May 13 as the college's Day of Caring project. Officials said materials will be delivered to a WCC student and family who lost their home and all its contents during the Greene County tornadoes, and local nonprofits involved in tornado relief.

The family includes a student in the college's human services program, her husband and four daughters -- a 10-year-old, 12-year-old, and 4-year-old and 6-year-old sets of twins. Groups on campus have been collecting clothing and household items and would welcome additional donations.

For more information on that relief effort, contact Michelle Rogers at 739-6700 or e-mail her at mrogers@waynecc.edu.