Gold medal graduation at Lake Tahoe Community College |

Gold medal graduation at Lake Tahoe Community College

Student William Twumasi delivers remarks at the 2017 LTCC commencement ceremony Friday, June 30.
Courtesy Pat Leonard-Heffner / LTCC |

A little touch of gold made its way into Lake Tahoe Community College’s 2017 commencement ceremony on Friday, June 30.

The theme of this year’s ceremony was, “Follow Your Dreams,” a topic that was addressed with enthusiasm by keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Jamie Anderson, Olympic gold medalist snowboarder and South Lake Tahoe native. Anderson was on hand to pick up her degree and to congratulate the 151 students who received their associate degrees this year, including her own sister, Summer Anderson.

Anderson is one of the top female snowboarders in the world, helping the United States to a gold-medal sweep in Olympic Slopestyle at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. She also holds 11 career X Game medals. But despite her many accomplishments both on the slopes and off, Friday’s ceremony was a family affair for Anderson and a day to recognize her sister’s and all of the graduating students’ academic achievements.

Of the 151 degree recipients, 10 graduated with highest honors, meaning they achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA. Another 26 students graduated with honors, carrying a GPA of between 3.65 and 3.99. Seventy-eight of LTCC’s AA degree earners received one of 13 transfer degrees, guaranteeing them a seat as a junior at a California State University this fall.

Also honored on Friday were LTCC’s vocational certificate earners. These 38 students took coursework in a number of specialized fields, earning a career-focused certificate in the process. New research conducted by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office reveals just how valuable a two-year degree or a vocational certificate can be to a student’s future earnings.

“Congratulations, you just got a raise!” LTCC President Jeff DeFranco told the crowd. “The degree or certificate you just earned today will help you to double or even triple your pre-education salaries.”

DeFranco shared his own version of “Follow Your Dreams,” talking about his aspiration as an undergraduate student to become a college president one day, and how, a dozen years later, he achieved that.

DeFranco also presented the LTCC Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award to longtime local dentist Dr. Deanna Brothers.

“She’s been a champion for our students’ success for a long time, and she embraces lifelong learning, continuing to take classes at LTCC to support her own educational journey,” said DeFranco. “What you see at commencement reflects the hard work our students put in, sometimes over many years. I hope they realize that this is just one step in their personal growth, and that they will continue to be curious and to seek learning throughout their lives.”

A number of LTCC’s graduating students also took part in the ceremony. Students Jenifer Ruiz and Yari Torres performed the Star Spangled Banner, and students William Twumasi and Victor Reynosa shared their thoughts about developing passions and pursuing dreams.

This article was provided by Lake Tahoe Community College.

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