08/25/13 — Finishing up as MOC's new year begins

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Finishing up as MOC's new year begins

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on August 25, 2013 1:50 AM

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Mount Olive College President Dr. Philip Kerstetter congratulates student Steven Best during the summer commencement at the college.

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive College held its 60th summer graduation Saturday at the George and Annie Dail Kornegay Arena, celebrating the end of one phase in life and the beginning of the next for the nearly 200 graduates.

Eleven of those graduates made up the inaugural class of the college's bachelor's of science in nursing.

Clinton Middleton was one of those to complete the program.

"I'm feeling good of course," he said. "I'm getting back with my education and can take this back to my job at WakeMed and really help people. I want to go back for my master's and be a nurse practitioner."

The nursing graduates were given a white stoal to wear across their shoulders to signify their achievement.

Many of the graduates already had their eyes on further education, even while celebrating the brief respite from the books, classes and studying the day afforded.

"It feels great and I'll be back in class for my bachelor's Tuesday," Tonika Henry said.

Ms. Henry earned her associate's of science in general studies through the accelerated program.

"It was a great experience, I'll keep it up as long as they keep the one night a week program," Ms. Henry said.

Steven Aster earned his bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure studies and plans to move on to earn his master's.

"It was a great experience here and feels like a great accomplishment," Aster said. "I'll be furthering my education in recreation."

For some, Mount Olive College meant an avenue to a better life.

Tony Moore earned his degree in management of information systems so that he can get a better job.

"I've been working towards this for the last four years. It's a great feeling," Moore said. "I'm going home to get a better job; this means a career, not a job."

Wayne County Commissioner Steve Keen gave the commencement address at the graduation.

He began by telling the graduates that he was honored to be asked to speak to them and that he had "knowledge of some qualities in effective leadership."

Keen explained the qualities a leader must possess and asked the graduates if they were going to be effective leaders.

"I know what some of you are feeling right now, I have been there," Keen said. "I never graduated from college, I never went to college, I barely got out of high school, but I know what you are going through."

Keen told the graduates that God calls people to things they may not be ready for, but that he will equip them.

He closed the speech with a warning and some advice.

"If Satan cannot destroy you he will distract you," Keen said. "Stay focused, spend time on your knees and trust God to take it from there. He does. He always will."